Bath School Board alerted to long overdue need for new band uniforms


The Bath School Board met last week to listen to public comments on its comprehensive plan.

Prior to any discussion of the comprehensive plan, Bath County Schools band director, Melinda Hooker gave a presentation about band uniforms, and the current band’s need for new ones. A group of band parents and students have been working to raise money towards the uniforms knowing anything the county may contribute will fall short of the need.   Around 86 students participate in band, which puts them in a category with larger schools when they go to competitions. They are using about fifty of the uniforms last purchased in 2001, and the students with no uniforms are wearing either all black, or in the percussion section, camouflage. So this hard-working group has raised around twenty-two thousand dollars, which makes them ready to pay their one-third deposit towards the fifty thousand dollar total the uniforms will cost.   The very high quality, durable uniforms the students have chosen run about five hundred and fifty dollars a piece, and as Hooker mentioned, they expect them to last another fifteen years. The question is, how much will the school board, and/or the board of supervisors supplement their efforts that are bringing in dollars little by little? One parent asked the board very specifically, and was told to have it put on the agenda for discussion at the next meeting. Unfortunately the budget has already been established for this school year, and the board was not prepared to comment on any surplus that might be available. Waiting to order the complete set of uniforms until after January 31st   will result in a three percent increase in the price. And waiting to order them until next year’s school budget has been established would mean the uniforms could not not be ready in time for next fall. So the band is continuing to turn to the generosity of individuals, local businesses, and those supporters who understand how important their group is to Bath County High School. As of Sunday afternoon, the Band Boosters had raised another two thousand four hundred and fifty four hundred dollars by putting on a theme basket Bingo. Every one is welcome to participate in this ongoing effort by making a gift, or by volunteering in one of the fundraising activities.

When it was time to review the County Schools Comprehensive Plan, there were few comments directly related to it. There are six goals in the plan, broadly stated such as “students will be prepared for active participation in society and ready for post-secondary education (college or trade school) or work including military service”. And under each goal are objectives and actions. Like most plans, this one is a working document, which will follow certain measurements over the years it is in place. For a careful look at the plan visit Bath County Public Schools website.

During Student Representative, Jessica Ryder’s report, she mentioned some of the athletic teams and cheerleaders would like to consider offering some type of celebration, or end-of-season banquet to recognize achievements and progress.

The Career and Technical Education report followed a little later and was almost a complete overview of the whole program and what is offered to each grade as they progress through high school. Jane McMullen, business and career skills, Larry Grubbs, electricity, Joey Altizer, carpentry and Ed Ozuls technology all spoke about their students and their work. Adeline Hodge’s culinary classes, and their accomplishments were described by principal Sarah Rowe, and Jane McMullen. New automotive instructor, Greg Pritt, was not present but is already an integral part of the CTE program. As so many changes are taking place rapidly in the work force, the CTE staff, community businesses and local tradespeople may need to commit to working more closely together, to insure Bath County students are adequately prepared for whatever is in their future.



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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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