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Meet Me in the Middle (Schools)

Wando High School, SC

1000 Warrior Way, Mount Pleasant, SC, USA
Charleston County Schools
Director: Bobby Lambert
Category: Recruitment Event/Activity
Award: Honorable Mention, 2020

Project Description

We have an amazing middle school program in our area, and the directors run a weekly band camp during the summer months. The last day of their camp coincides with our summer band camp. The middle school students spend time eating lunch with & then playing a concert for the high school students. Then the high school students fill the auditorium & give the middle school students a sneak peak into their show for the upcoming season. Afterwards, all of the students & parents hang out at an ice cream social.

In order to build on this relationship that was started in the summer months, we invite the middle school students to 8th grade night. The students pair up with a high school student to play the National Anthem on the field before one of our high school football games. Then the middle school students join the high school students in the stands to play pep songs during the game and to watch the marching show at half time from the band area. The kids (& parents) LOVE seeing the excitement & interaction between these kids – no matter the age, background, size, or color – music brings them all together!

Then in the winter, we invite all interested middle school band members to Wando for an all state clinic. Students are working side by side with the Wando student leadership team and specialized clinicians to practice & hone their all state solos before tryouts. This is a great experience for the middles school students as well as a wonderful leadership & service opportunity for our band members.

In the spring, we organize our all state trip and invite all of the middle school students who are part of the all state band to join us as we travel to Furman University (4 hrs away). Students spend time together learning all state music and even spend free time together bowling and racing go carts. It is exciting to see all ages & types of kids coming together through music & having so much fun!

Finally, in May we invite 8th graders for spring training to begin showing them how to get in shape for marching band season & what to work on over the summer until band camp begins. We also have a drop in & meeting with all 8th grade parents with prizes & give aways as well as information about our band program. We want parents & kids to feel welcome in our program, and we have found that we are successful when we start in the “middle” (school)!

Target Audience

All of the middle school band students in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Our feeder schools are Thomas Cario Middle, Laing Middle, and Moultrie Middle School.

Overview of planning and execution process for this project

  • Spring – contact middle school directors to confirm dates of summer camp as well as to share master calendars for the year
  • Early Summer – line up donations for ice cream social
  • August – Band camp/ middle school performance & social
  • October – 8th grade night at home football game
  • January – all state clinic
  • May – spring training/8th grade parent night

Community Impact

There is a greater connection between our middle school & high school programs where before there was a huge disconnect.

Overall budget

$0

Specific Budget Breakdown

The only expense is the ice cream social, which is donated by a local business. The all state trip is paid for by each student who makes all state.

What was your total program enrollment during the prior school year?

230

What is your projected program enrollment for the current school year?

250

New or recurring project?

Recurring

How did you update/change this project from its previous occurrence?

We included any student that wanted to attend – even if they attend a private or charter school without an organized band program.

Challenges/obstacles that were encountered

Getting the word out to middle schoolers about the clinic over the holiday break. We used social media & email to solve this problem.

Measurement of the success/effectiveness of this project?

increased program enrollment; This program definitely gave middle school students a glimpse into the life of a Wando High band student, and it got them excited about being a part of this program!

Advice for someone looking to replicate this project in their own community?

Talk to the middle school directors EARLY & share calendars. Make an effort not to schedule concerts or events on the same nights.

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