By Jodi Marze, Lifestyles Editor
The Picayune Item
Picayune band members depend on the kindness of others — and the hard work of their parents and other members of the Band Booster group — to help them go on trips and participate in band festivals and other events.
Picayune Band Boosters are predominantly parents, some former band members themselves, who are dedicated to the care and support of the Picayune Memorial High School Band, dance team and flag corp.
“We provide food, water, Gatorade and anything else needed for students. We get sponsors to help defray costs of trips, supplies and comfort items as needed through fundraising projects such as concession sales at home games, candy sales and tumblers,” said Cassondra Mills, president of the Picayune Band Boosters.
With 80 band students, 35 dancers and 12 color guard members who are dependent on the boosters for much needed items, they take their responsibility very seriously.
“Someone has to feed them and support them along with our school and Mr. Cockerell, the band director,” says Booster member Valerie Griggs. “We feed them, make sure they drink their liquids so they do not get dehydrated, as well as use their sunscreen.”
“We are here for them. We consider them all our children,” said Mills. “We all have children and we love being part of their lives.”
The youngest member of the Booster club is seven-year-old Bailey Mills. The daughter of Cassondra Mills, Bailey was as busy as any mother working in the kitchen at the time of interview.
“Bailey loves to be involved,” says Mills. “She is an excellent helper and loves to see her big sister during the day. She is our youngest and will not let herself be left out of any project with the Boosters.”
Griggs says of Bailey Mills, “I love her spirit. When you have your children helping like this, at her age, they end up doing it as adults.
“I know that my mother was a dedicated, hard-core member of the PTO and I worked right along side of her at Bailey’s age. I believe Bailey has started a cycle of contribution that she will continue throughout her life, just as most of us have done.”
Boosters are currently approaching sponsors to help raise money to purchase a wrap for the band trailer that will identify them as the Picayune Marching Band.
“We have school pride and we want the places we travel to to know who we are,” says Mills of their latest fundraising project. “This is something that we will push very hard for this year. We want our school and members to know how proud we are of them.”
The Band Boosters concessions stand will be located at the east end of the home side of the field. The Boosters ask that home game attendees visit them and support the band as concession profits go to band needs.
“We are so lucky to have parents who are willing to put forth their time to work so hard to support our program. They are out year round doing things to help our students and staff. Many people think that when their children reach high school that they don’t have to be as involved as they once were, but it is very needed and we welcome all of the support we can get,” says Vice principal Kristi Mitchell.