Two worthy organizations received community outreach grants in October. The Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bear Band Boosters, Inc. received $5,000 to match $5,000 the group had raised to purchase new timpani drums.
Based in Fairmont, the Polar Bear Band is comprised of more than 100 student musicians who have performed in such venues as Walt Disney World, Music in the Mountains, the Morgantown Band Spectacular, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, Universal Studios, The Orange Blossom Festival and Citrus Bowl Parade in Orlando, Florida, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C, as well as various parades throughout the state. The Polar Bear Band also hosts an annual fall band spectacular and performs a halftime show at each football game.
In addition to marching at various events, the Polar Bear Concert Band and Symphonic Band present special programs for the community, host traditional Christmas and spring concerts, and also participate in the school's commencement exercises. A jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, and steel drum band help diversify the band’s umbrella of musical styles, instruments, and musicianship. These groups have performed in various schools throughout the area and with acclaimed musicians from several universities.
The new timpani drums will enable students to gain exposure to professional quality instruments and replace the ones that had been in use. A. Shawn Dunn, band director, said, “The drums we have now are about 40 years old and are in bad shape. They’re really on their last legs. These new drums will give the kids a chance to play on new professional quality equipment. A lot of our kids try out for all-state band and this will further help them prepare with top quality instruments and, overall, will make our band sound better. This will really offer a good experience for the kids.”
The new timpani drums will be dedicated at either the Christmas or spring band concert in memory of long-time band booster Tina Kaiser. For more information about the Fairmont Senior High School Polar Bear Marching Band, please visit http://www.polarbearband.org or call band director A. Shawn Dunn at 304.363.6270.
The West Virginia Association of Student Councils (WVASC) received a grant for $3,500 to help fund activities including two sponsored trips to the West Virginia state legislature, Super Leadership Day, the Summer Leadership Camp, and the National Association of Student Councils National Conference.
WVASC is an organization whose main goal is to unite student councils from West Virginia to share ideas, learn leadership skills, set goals, and make lifelong friends. Events held during the year allow students to network and gain exposure and training in various topics. The association promotes the development of positive skills for both students and advisors: leadership, participatory citizenship, volunteerism, and sound decision-making.
WVASC has a membership of over 80 middle and high schools throughout West Virginia and elects student officers yearly to govern the association. The WVASC Executive Board is comprised of student state officers and Student Council Advisors from throughout the state. These board members are a very active group that meets to plan state events and discuss issues that help the organization run smoothly. There are elected members who serve on the board, as well as the advisors of the elected state officers. These board members meet in different parts of the state throughout the year and attend conferences with students.
The West Virginia Association of Student Councils will sponsor State Legislature Days on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 for senior high students and on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 for junior/middle school students. For more information or to contact the West Virginia Association of Student Councils, please visit http://www.wvasc.org/index.html or contact Karen Donathan, executive director, at 304.545.3091.
Each of these worthy organizations will report on its activities and perhaps reap many rewards from their efforts with funds provided by the Mollohan Foundation. These endeavors are true examples of building a future for all generations.