DHS band affected by administrative decision

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Douglas High School band members Thursday staged a protest at lunch after the administration squelched plans to go to the 2003 New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Vice Principal Tom Morgan said Wednesday night the band is not allowed to raise funds for a March 2003 trip to the New York parade.

Students need more than $60,000 to participate in the parade, about $800 per student.

"We are uncomfortable with the amount of fund-raising DHS is asking for," Morgan said. "It's a huge sum of money."

Morgan said the decision to decrease fund-raising was an administrative decision made by him, Vice Principal Susan Baldwin and Douglas County School District Superintendent John Soderman

The parade committee in New York City needs an answer today regarding the school's commitment.

"(Morgan) said it's wrong to ask the community (for funds again), that we went for the inauguration," said band member Sarah Zabelsky, referring to an event two years ago when the band raised money for President George W. Bush's inauguration in Washington, D.C. "We're having this protest because our vice principal refuses to listen to us. This is a prestigious event and he won't let us go."

About 70 students sat facing the Commons at the entrance of the school Thursday with band trophies and "New York, New York" blaring from a CD player.

"More power to them," said 17-year-old student Alia Macquelin. "They should say their piece."

Zabelsky said school Principal Charlie Condron, who resigned Oct. 21, had initially approved the project, but Morgan said Condron had not.

"Charlie was very much a part of this decision. In our last meeting, he said, 'We cannot do this," Morgan said.

"It's not easy. I made a promise to speak to the band class (Thursday) and tried to field their questions. Many students were in tears. It's very frustrating. I'm very sympathetic. It's just that I'm very community sensitive."

The vice principal said if a similar situation arises next year, certain procedures will need to be followed regarding fund-raising.

"We've been the best band in Nevada for 12 years," Zabelsky said. "He said it was wrong to ask the community. We went to the inauguration. They've been raising money for the track for so long. This is a prestigious event."

"Mr. Morgan is not being fair," said 15-year-old Katherine Marucha. "We earned the right to go."

Band students wore gray T-shirts that read "Pride of Carson Valley." Some felt the fund-raising for the inaugural event two years ago should not penalize students who are now in the band.

"I don't know the levels of the band," Morgan said. "They've enjoyed a lot of success at the local level and had a reputation that got them to the inauguration parade."

Most band members were not happy with the administrative decision, but at least four thought the protest was rash.

"We don't think (the protest) is the right way," one of the students said. "Basically, they want Mr. Morgan to agree with (them)."


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