While we all agree high school is an important time to focus on college and career readiness, it’s also a time to develop talents and cultivate friendships. Student activities are a key part of the high school experience and for many students, a reason to keep going when grades and responsibilities feel overwhelming.
The current NSD supplemental levy, passed in 2020, provides almost half a million dollars per year for student activities, athletics and the arts. The proposed replacement levy on the March 8 ballot would continue that income source, allowing schools to purchase materials, music, uniforms, theatrical sound systems and more.
These funds also affect lives on a deeper, more personal level.
At Skyview High School, band members chant their mantra: One band, one sound, one family. For junior Trey Bledsoe (pictured at right with teacher Cody Peterman), that’s not just a catchphrase.
“This is definitely the most inspiring, most caring, most anything family. Students may come from different backgrounds or have different social lives, but here you are a member.”
Trey has played flute for 10 years, and recently took up the piccolo as well. For this future music director, marching band is where he finds validation and inspiration.
“I’ve always done music,” he said, “but it wasn’t until high school band that I realized what I wanted to be as a human being – what I wanted to do in life. You can get so inspired by extracurriculars. Band teaches teamwork, compassion and patience skills. And you can put that on your resume in the real world.”
Skyview High band director Cody Peterman agrees. His research shows that music not only promotes inclusiveness, it also allows for greater creativity in problem-solving, and ties mind, body and emotion together – influencing everything we think and learn.
Peterman believes band is the reason some kids come to school. “Articles and research show kids do better in school and are more engaged,” he said.
Without the levy, the band program would suffer, he said. Many of his instruments and equipment are aging. Some of his sousaphones were already used when the school opened in 1996, and his xylophone hands out unwanted slivers. His equipment carts are falling apart, and his sound system needs to be upgraded. Levy funds can be used to address all these needs.
The current levy already has been used to purchase sheet music, instruments, and new marching band uniforms.
“New instruments bring more confidence, morale and opportunities,” he said, noting that larger instruments like tubas and marimbas bring depth to the sound but are out of reach for most students to purchase on their own. And playing a specialty instrument like the oboe or bassoon can give students an edge when applying for scholarships.
Trey agrees that having these unique sounds in the band is vital. “It’s insanely important to have a full sound in the band. If you are missing one sound it can ruin the entire feel of everything.”
Peterman emphasizes the importance of K-12 music education by noting that without it, we won’t have symphony orchestras, film scores, or the dozens of other musical delights we have come to enjoy.
And, as Trey reminds us, “with no band or no sports, we’d be getting rid of all the fun.”
Find information on the March 8 levy election at nampa.school/levy.