By Maria Suarez, Centerspread Editor
Color guard members are considering discontinuing the activity due to heavy dues, no funds and not enough attention.
Senior Alina Britto claimed members are disappointed about the downfall of the extracurricular activity.
Having spent three years taking part in color guard, Britto, who was captain of the team, said that those three years underwent a lot of changes with each year getting worse, leading to the club almost being discontinued.
“I wouldn’t even consider (color guard) a club,” Britto said. “We weren’t even put on the school’s website as a club. We were put on as a part of band, which we were only involved in band for about half the year and the rest we were winter guard, but we were never a club alone.”
According to Britto, some issues color guard faced was the lack of school funds, heavy student dues and poor instructors, who didn’t pay much attention to the students involved.
“It was hard to recruit new students without the help of the school,” Britto said. “The school never even gave us a bus to go to the competitions. We had a parent who felt bad for us, which is why they helped fund for the club so that the student dues weren’t as bad.
“But I mean, the school funds every other club and sport, it even gives athletes a bus to attend their games, while color guard students had to find a parent with a big enough truck to take us to our competitions.”
According to Ms. Narus, assistant principal overseeing student activities, members need to understand that the school doesn’t pay for any clubs or extracurricular activities. The school allows students to have clubs and sports as a privilege, but students have to work hard to keep the club going because the school doesn’t fund them.
“Students didn’t pay dues,” Ms. Narus said. “Color guard is an extracurricular and it needs to be paid and the school isn’t required to pay it. The school doesn’t fund any club. The Athletic Booster (Club) funds the sports, and they pay for sports equipment, buses and games.”
According to music director Ms. Odio, for the previous three years a parent, Bill Dowd, had funded the club with a minimum of $25,000, which lowered the dues amount for students and it provided the club with its equipment and instructors. When Dowd’s daughter graduated, students had to start paying their full amount of dues and needed to begin new fundraising strategies. Ms. Odio said students did not adjust to the new financial reality.
“All these people (students and parents) who didn’t have to pay their dues (before), had to pay (now) and (they) didn’t want to pay,” Odio said.
With many members’ dues unpaid, the group needed to have fundraisers to raise money. The members had the whole year to raise money, Odio said, but organized only one car wash.
In addition to financial issues, Britto also claims the advisors’ and instructors’ lacked sufficient interest to continue the group.
“One of the instructors was not only helping us students practice but he was also involved in four other schools, which is why he wasn’t able to attend some practices,” Britto said. “Ms. Odio was always concentrated about band so we were never really the spotlight of her attention and every year the instructors just lost more interest in the club.”
Britto added, “I don’t even ever recall seeing Mr. Thomas at any of the competitions.”
Britto went as far as deciding to quit the color guard club so that she would be able to take part on another school’s team, but since two students chose to remain, she wasn’t allowed to perform for another school.
Senior Tyler Barrett, a captain along with Britto, said that it was Ms. Odio’s fault that interest fell.
“Ms. Odio without a doubt was to blame for the downfall of guard,” Barrett said. “She showed no encouragement for us, she got mad every time we tried to talk to her, and she even told us that band was more important to her than guard.”
According to Ms. Odio, when she expressed to color guard that her main focus was on band, the words came out wrong causing misunderstandings amongst the club members.
“I apologized to them,” Odio said. “I even clarified myself. They felt like they were excluded, but I did care for them. I cared enough to provide great instructors for them.”
As music director, Odio is in charge of band, chorus, guard, orchestra and all other music organizations in the school, but her main specialty is band, which is why she provided instructors. She said the instructors would get frustrated with color guard because members were inconsistent in their attendance.
“Instructors were getting frustrated because only five students would show up to practice out of a group of 17 members,” Ms. Odio said.
Although Britto and Barrett have quit the club, some members, such as junior Pedro Renteria, remained to attempt to rescue the club.
“The club is on a hiatus because of a lack of funds and members,” Renteria said. “We are using this year as a recruitment year so that we can continue the program next year.”
The club’s goal this year is to recruit students, something that had to be done last spring. Odio has a list of 40 interested freshmen, while the club members as a whole have recruited another five.
With all the negative put aside, all current and previous members agree that color guard built strong relationships.
“I learned so much and made so many memories which involve people who I call my friends today,” Britto said.