Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Expectations Are High & Costs Are Higher

What options are students left with when the programs they’ve put so much into are suddenly out of their reach due to an inability to meet cost requirements?
Photo by Aaron Scriven
The Kickapoo Golden Arrow Band participates in a celebratory group photo after a successful competition day during the Fall 2023 Marching season.

   When you think of programs that are accepting of students who cannot always meet high financial demands, the band program is probably one that comes to mind. Band departments are often regarded as some of the most welcoming programs to students from all walks of life; but what is one to do when the program they’ve expended so much time, energy, and money into raises its financial demands to an unrealistic standard?

   This is the current problem being faced by many students looking to participate in the marching band in the 24-25 school year. Previously, the band program has been relatively expensive, considering the high performance and competitions attended as a result of that skill set, as well as other more general costs like equipment, props, and choreographers. The department is pushing this limit even further, as the estimated costs for this next season are hundreds of dollars more from what they have previously been.

   The Kickapoo Golden Arrow Band (KGAB) is known for being one of the best around in all aspects. This is proven by their ability to compete at a national level at Bands Of America (BOA), as well as other state competitions throughout their marching season. In previous years, the band has competed at either St. Louis’ BOA, or Indianapolis’ BOA, alternating between the two each year. This idea has been revised by directors, however, and they have decided that they will be attending both the St. Louis and Indianapolis competitions in the 24-25 season. 

   “I think the point of programs is for them to grow, and I think that if the program was not growing then there would be cause for concern,” said Senior Kassidy Ellis.

   While being able to compete at both of these competitions is a huge show of their skill set, hard work, and talent, there are some underlying issues with this travel plan. Obviously, attending one of these competitions was expensive enough, when you account for things like travel fees, hotel room costs, and meals, but now, those costs have been increased substantially to accommodate both trips.

   The program’s director Aaron Scriven states that the growth that the band department is seeing requires a matching level of competitive challenge, and things like attending both BOA competitions help make that possible.

   “I have been feeling like after four years we should move into more challenging and beneficial competitions,” Scriven stated.

   It is also clear that the directors have acknowledged that it may be difficult for some to afford these increasing prices, and at the end of the day, the pricing is not up to the program directors. There is a clear lack of direct funding from the district for the band department in comparison to other programs at our school, and this is a key reason for the heavy push for fundraising opportunities to accommodate the projected budget increase.

   “Our budget is pretty much identical to Nixa, but the only difference is that they have district funding that we just don’t have,” Scriven explains.

   Regardless of the reasoning for the lack of money, there are a multitude of students that already struggled to meet these financial demands in previous seasons, and will continue to do so. Many students opted to fundraise to try to pay off their band fees, and some worked concessions at different school events and even Springfield Cardinals baseball games, but this doesn’t always prove to be as easy as it may seem.

    “I know, like in previous years a lot of students have not had the transportation to get to fundraising events like Cardinals games, or have not had time to because they’re working two or three jobs to help pay for their family, or they’re homeless and bouncing from one place to another. I think that directors need to think about that, and they need to evaluate, ‘Is it worth going to two BOA’s, or is it worth keeping a child who cannot afford this in my program?’,” Ellis stated. 

   With all of these fundraising opportunities and odd end side jobs, there were still often times that participants struggled to make enough money to pay the fees that they had to pay.

  “It is a lot of money, and some people definitely cannot afford that, and even with all the fundraising it is still crazy hard to afford that stuff,” said Junior Misha McNeil.

   The question that remains is that of whether or not it is truly necessary for the band to attend both BOA competitions, and whether or not this is truly the most beneficial plan for the whole of the band?

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About the Contributor
Morgan Brownson, Reporter