LOW MOOR — A spiffy trailer being used by the Alleghany High School Band is proof that the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division is helping put unity in the community.
The story behind the trailer truly exemplifies a community effort with parents, citizens and businesses pitching in to throw their support behind the AHS Band. The band is seeing newfound enthusiasm with the recent consolidation of Alleghany and Covington high schools.
“We are so pleased to see what is happening. It is just so awesome,” said Christie Persinger, treasurer of the recently-formed AHPS Band Boosters.
The new version of the AHPS Band Boosters was formed after Alleghany High School and Covington High School merged this school year. The AHS and CHS band boosters combined into one organization, and Covington Middle School is also included.
“It’s great having Covington, with their very community-minded spirit, join in with us, and we have also included the middle school. Our middle school band is part of our band boosters, as well. This helps them know what is coming. They know what to prepare for, but also help with our fund-raising, and they are able to join in on everything,” said Karma Tucker, the AHPS Band Booster president.
Alleghany High School is part of the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools division. The school division was formed in July 2022 when Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center merged. As part of the merger agreement, school leaders spent a year planning for the consolidation of the two high schools. As school officials planned ahead, so did the band boosters.
As part of their planning, members of the band boosters began searching for a trailer. Knowing that Alleghany High School in Valley Ridge would serve as the consolidated high school, the band boosters viewed the use of a trailer as an efficient way to transport band uniforms and large pieces of equipment to football games. Home football games are now played about nine miles from AHS at Casey Field in Covington. The trailer was purchased earlier this year, and in August, it was donated to Alleghany Highlands Public Schools by the band boosters.
“We have worked really hard on this project since last year,” Tucker said. “We were able to raise enough funds to purchase this trailer for the band.”
Over the past month, Image Express in Covington donated and affixed wrapping for the outside of the trailer, which now displays the new AHS logos and the school colors of Columbia blue and navy blue. The trailer will be used for football games, band competitions and parades. It is pulled by an AHPS maintenance truck. The truck is now navy blue with Columbia blue pin striping thanks to a donation from Alleghany Utility Construction. The pin striping was installed by Driven Designs in Covington.
“We had another couple who took care of the inside of the trailer. Now there are shelves, and there’s a way to lock down instruments so they don’t slide around during travel. There are also places to hang all of the uniforms,” Tucker said.
“There was such a feeling of community around this project. It was very, very nice,” Persinger said.
School consolidation has helped bring new excitement and interest in the music and band programs at AHS, which had been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the consolidation came new ideas, such as the formation of winter percussion and color guard to generate more interest in the band.
It’s part of overall efforts by school staff and others who are working hard to get students interested in education activities outside of the regular classroom. Known as extracurricular activities, studies have long supported that band and other activities help keep students more interested in school, and improve their level of success.
Adam Eggleston was named AHS band director at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, and he has worked to generate interest in band and music by working with music teachers throughout Alleghany Highlands Public Schools.
“The whole music department has been absolutely fantastic. Adam came in last year … with a lot of enthusiasm and ideas. It has been wonderful to work with him,” Tucker said.
Tucker and Persinger say they are thrilled to see growing interest in the band and the band booster organization. Active membership in the band boosters has grown from a handful of people to between 30 and 35. Meetings of the organization are now routinely attended by an average of 15 to 25 people.
“We are so grateful. We have gotten so much community support. We have a whole new group of parents who are involved in the band boosters,” Tucker said.” It’s so exciting to see how it has grown from the time that there were just a few of us to the people who are now coming to the meetings and showing their support. Anyone can come and join the band boosters, all we do is support the band.”
“We enjoy what we are doing,” Persinger said. “We love the band. They make you want to help them. They are such good kids. They work so hard. I don’t think they always get the credit they deserve for their hard work. It’s very easy to help them.”
The next meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. in the AHS Cafeteria.
Eggleston expressed his appreciation for the band boosters and the community for their efforts to support the band.
“The band boosters being a tremendous asset to the band is one of the long-standing traditions in our area. They have been a huge part of the success of the band for many years and this group has really stepped up to meet the new challenges that the consolidated band is facing,” Eggleston said. “I am incredibly honored to be working with this group of students, and it is really encouraging to see the way the community gets together to support us through things like these donations. I am so grateful for all of the help and backing that we have been getting.”
Upcoming band events include participation in the Star City Classic on Sept. 30 at William Fleming High School in Roanoke. With approximately 2,700 students, the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington. AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchools and Instagram at ahpublicschools. Information is also posted on the division website www.ahps.k12.va.us.
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