Extracurricular activities often give students something to look forward to while attending school. They provide many opportunities, like scholarships for college, and chances to make lifelong mentors and friends.
One popular activity at Hialeah High School is the school’s marching band.
The Hialeah High Marching Band is known for its many accolades, including having won three state championships, earning first place in the 2011 Florida Marching Band Coalition competition, being recognized as the No. 1 Marching Band in its division, 1A, in all of Florida, and being honored by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr. in February for its 2014 state championship win.
But with these accomplishments, students have faced many obstacles due to lack of funding for the program.
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“They [students] have had to borrow instruments from other marching bands in order to compete because their instruments are broken,” said Nancy Perez, 39, president of the Thoroughbred Band Parent Association.
“We are in desperate need of funds.”
Perez’s son, Blake Regalado, is now a senior who has faithfully participated in the band for four years. Perez has watched her son perform in the same uniform, which the band has had for about 14 years. She has watched students march with black electrical tape on their instruments while shouting “blue!” as they approach the field.
“These kids put so much time and effort into practice and their show,” said Perez, as she remembered her son at one time marching with a fractured clavicle.
Blake was instructed by his doctor to take time off to heal properly, but he didn’t let the fracture stop him. He performed with a sling over one arm and played his trumpet one-handedly with the other.
The band cannot depend on the school for funds because of budget cuts. Seven-year band director Omar Perez, 33, encourages his students to raise funds, but it is still not enough.
“The band members have done car washes, bake sales, sold ads and discount cards,” Perez said. “They have done whatever they could to offset costs.”
While the marching band has finished its season strongly, the band still participates in activities, like indoor performance assessments, that require students to use their uniforms and instruments year-round.
The band continues to be active in the community while hosting fund-raisers, but its members are now asking the public to help them reach their goal of $5,000 for instruments and new uniforms.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/HHSMarchingBand.