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Friday, May 18, 2012

Band Legacy

This week, I attended the final concert of my High School Band teacher before his retirement.  It was amazing (as always) and quite bittersweet for me.  I found myself thinking back on my own band career and being deeply saddened that it doesn't look like my children will get to have that experience.

If it were all about teaching them to play a musical instrument, that could be worked out.  I do happen to teach piano after all.  :)  Plus, if they chose a different instrument, perhaps we could find a teacher close and make that happen.  But, it is not all about learning to play an instrument.  Although that in itself is rewarding and does have the benefit of being able to share your music with others and possible music scholarships for college, it does not begin to touch the benefits of a band legacy.

The band is like your other family.  There are experiences that happen through band that no one could possibly understand if they are not there.  There are inside jokes that no one else would find funny.  Relationships form with other members of your instrument section that may not have formed otherwise.  Friendships form that may not have just passing in the hall.  There are life experiences that happen through band that weren't typical of my other classes.  My first trip overseas was a music trip with the Kansas Ambassadors of Music.  I made friendships through band camps and district music events that lasted far beyond the week of camp or the event.  The shared experience of band bonds you with others who have that same experience whether in your school or far away.

It saddens me that it looks like my children will not get to have this experience.  Even if a band suddenly appeared at our school, it will take time to build it into a family.  I remember the question in 4th grade was not "Will I join band next year?"  It was, "What instrument will I choose?"  The family was already formed and it was a great privilege to join.  Not everyone stayed in band all through school, but if they left, their presence was missed.  When you are part of a family, your presence or absence is noticed and makes a difference.  Our band family was such a big part of my life that I still consider them my "family" years later.

I realize music education is considered a "luxury" and is not part of some schools.  I am convinced those who are making those decisions have never been part of a band "family" themselves.  It is not a luxury.  Being part of band bonded me with others who shared my love of music.  Having music in my school day kept me sane and allowed me to do well and focus in other classes.  I even planned my schedule around music classes--they were not optional for me.

Benefits of music in my life:
1.  Stress relief
2.  Way to volunteer and share my talents with others
3.  Activity that kept me busy and out of trouble in High School
4.  Perseverance
5.  Organization
6.  Managing a time schedule
7.  Friendships
8.  Scholarships for college
9.  Travel opportunities.
10.  "Family" relationships developed

What I want for my kiddos is to find a group of people they feel comfortable with and who will let them be themselves.  I want them to have a group of peers who will encourage them to always do their best and reach for the stars.  I want them to be challenged to continue to do better and better and have someone to celebrate with when they reach their goals

Thank you Mr. Will and my NCHS band family.

What are your memories of band?  What are some other group that might become a "family" if band is not available?

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Keeping Our Schools Safe

Every week day I entrust the safety of my children to school for approximately 7 1/2 hours.  Fortunately, I rarely worry about their safety while they are there.  Now, granted, there is some tough stuff emotionally that happens as you grow up.  Especially when you have a room full of kids all hitting puberty and hormones at about the same time.  Thankfully, our school has an anti-bullying program.  Does this keep bullying from happening?  Unfortunately, NO.  But, what it does do is help all the kiddos identify what constitutes bullying so everyone knows when it is happening and they know where to find help.  Hopefully, it also means the students stick up for each other and identify bullying when it happens to others.

One day, within the past few weeks, I heard a firetruck pass through town.  I never imagined it was headed to the school.  I never imagined they had a REAL fire.  I am so thankful they practice fire drills so that everyone was able to safely and quickly get out of the building.  I'm thankful they knew how to respond in an emergency.  I'm thankful the fire alarm was pulled quickly and teachers managed to remain calm enough to get their students to safety.  I'm thankful the fire department responded quickly and there were no injuries or major structural damage.  I'm thankful the first graders were already at PE since the fire started outside their classroom.  This was an adventure we never really want to have, but I'm thankful the school practices just in case.  I don't think anyone at that school will think fire drills are a boring waste of time.

Thank you to teachers, Principal, staff, firefighters, etc. who work so hard to keep our children safe.  Thank you to God for keeping Your Hand over the school.  I'm thankful my trust is not misplaced.  I entrust my children's safety to the school approximately 37 1/2 hours per week.  Thank you that you also take their safety so seriously.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Power of Speech

"Words of affirmation, blessing, and encouragement cost us nothing, but they can accomplish great things."--from NIV Once-A-Day 31 Days of Wisdom

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Journal That Traveled the Country

The 4th grade Social Studies class did a very fun project this year.  They each began a journal that was to travel around the country.  The hope was that it would eventually find it's way back home so the class could see where all the journal had been.  I don't know how all the other journals did--I'm told some didn't make it back and some saw more of the country--at least one made it to all 50 states.  I do know our daughter's journal made it to people who did a great job writing all about their state and even including some information from the Internet or postcards.  Not all the journals coming back were filled--not even the one that made it to all 50 states.  This journal was completely full and even had pages added to the back.  Thank you Aunt Cassie for setting the tone.  What an amazing way to learn all about our country.  It definitely makes us want to visit in person someday.  :)

Places the journal traveled:
Washington D.C.
New York
North Carolina
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Sunday, May 13, 2012