Tag Archives: highschool

Countdown to 10-Year: Colorguard & Band

In nine days, I will be attending my 10 Year Class Reunion. In these days, I will take the opportunity to look back on ten of my favorite elements of high school (in no particular order of importance)…

#9 – Colorguard & Band

Setting up for band photo -- 1998
Setting up for band photo -- 1998

I still clearly remember going to pep rallies in elementary school and staring at the girls with the flags with great big hearts in my eyes. I was going to be a flag girl some day. I had to be. This was an important endeavor in my life. It was the be-all, end-all.

To be a member of the Flag Corp (or Colorguard as we came to refer to it later), you had to be a member of band. So when the decision came in fifth grade to be in band or not, the answer was a no-brainer. Yes! Yes! Yes!

I ended up playing flute in band. Throw out your best “American Pie” joke here, if you must, but, I played flute and low and behold I was dang good at it! My freshman year of high school, I quickly advanced into the top few chairs of the flute section. In fact at the end of the year, I sat second chair below a graduating senior. I was poised to become section leader, but my dream remained to be a flag.

Finally eligible to try out, I still remember the day that flag pole first landed in my hands. It was quickly discovered I had a natural talent for it! Nonetheless, I practiced and practiced. Few things had ever been this important to me.

It was quickly assumed I was a shoo-in, and I was on cloud nine. I was so close I could taste it. I was practically already being measured for my new uniform.

Friends hanging out in the band hall -- 1996
Friends hanging out in the band hall -- 1996

Tryout day came. I was in one of the last groups to go in to try out. I was a total basket-case. Fundamentals were simple and I nailed those. Then we had to perform a routine.

I still remember the routine was to, “What’s Going On” by 4 Non Blondes. The music started. No one has ever crashed and burned as spectacularly as I did. The routine I could do in my sleep became this huge impossible task to my arms. My timing was off. My mind could not get the next part right. There was no saving myself. I walked out defeated.

I obviously didn’t make the squad that year.

I was, in a word, heartbroken. In my mind, my whole life hinged on becoming a flag. I had talked to my mom at length about how important it was to happen for me. I really could not comprehend NOT being a flag… and yet here I was a sophomore and not a flag.

My talents playing flute quickly threw me into playing piccolo. A whole new level of torture and complement all wrapped into one shrill, tiny instrument. I wasn’t a flag, and life went on nonetheless. I found successes elsewhere, but my heart still longed to accomplish that dream. Another year passed and try outs came back around.

Once again, my natural talent for performing, flag in hand, came out. This year, though, it wasn’t so life-and-death to become a flag. I went into it with a clearer head and a whole new level of confidence. I went in knowing I knew how to do this. I went in knowing I was good. I went in knowing the world would not end if for some reason I once again failed.

Performing with the Colorguard -- 1998
Performing with the Colorguard -- 1998

The day of try-outs I went home sick from school. (I later went to the doctor to learn I had a nasty case of the flu.) I came back to school that afternoon to try out nonetheless. I had a 100 degree temperature, and I still remember laying down in the hallway outside the gym in total misery. I was so sick, and yet I went into the gym, tried out with all my heart, and I made the squad ranked third in line from the top.

I was ecstatic, but also a lot more respectful of what it meant than I would have been had I gotten my dream the first time around. I took it a lot more seriously.

The next two years, I performed during football season as a member of the Colorguard, and I spent the second semester still playing my flute.

My senior year, our half-time show was “A Chorus Line” and the Colorguard did the high kicks. I still remember the night we did the full show at half time. I still remember it all coming together so perfectly. I still remember the standing ovation we received from the stands upon doing our high kicks. I still remember that rush. Its one of those feelings a person never forgets.

Band and Colorguard took up probably a solid half of my high school career. You can call me a band nerd, I don’t care. The experiences I had in that organization molded me into who I am more than most things ever did in my life.

Playing flute after a parade -- 1999
Playing flute after a parade -- 1999

My failure to make flags my freshman year taught me the taste of defeat and to not put so much emphasis on some that arbitrary. But my determination to try again the next year showed me how to never give up on a dream.

My time spent as captain my senior year taught me elements of leadership that can be ugly but also rewarding. It taught me to stand up for myself and for the people who were depending on me. It taught me elements of being an adult that to this day I rely upon.

Playing music in band definitely taught me a lot about music and all its dynamics. I definitely have leaned upon those fundamentals since marrying a musician and music literally becoming my life. And the friendships I nurtured through my days in band are some of the friendships I still have today. The memories and laughter, the victories and the not-as-great-as-we-hopeds, the pride and disappointment. These are all memories and lessons that I cherish deeply.

Countdown to 10-Year: Yoe Pride

In ten days, I will be attending my 10 Year Class Reunion. In these days, I will take the opportunity to look back on ten of my favorite elements of high school (in no particular order of importance)…

#10 – Yoe Pride

CH Yoe High School -- 2009
CH Yoe High School -- 2009

I attended C.H. Yoe High School in Cameron, Texas. Graduating class of 1999. One of my favorite things about high school was what we simply referred to as “Yoe Pride.”

Before I could even begin to try to explain the concept of Yoe Pride, I need to give a brief history of my high school.

Unlike most high schools, we weren’t named after our town. We were named after the benefactors whose love for Cameron and the children within it made the high school possible: Charles H. and Caroline Yoe. (For the full story of this couple, visit the Yoe Foundation web-site.)

After C.H. Yoe passed away, Caroline gave the money to buy the land and build the high school for Cameron, where they had made their home together for so many years. In 1921 it was dedicated and opened in the name of C.H. Yoe High School. Our mascot became a “Yoeman” — a medieval archer similar to the character of Robin Hood (a yeoman archer). The original building, built in 1921, still stands, and it’s where I had a vast majority of my classes between 1995 – 1999. In 2004 a new high school was built on the same land.

Since 1921, in May, Cameron ISD takes a school holiday — “Yoe Day” — to remember, thank and honor C.H. and Caroline Yoe. On that day, officers in organizations in the high school, and representatives of every class — from Seniors through Kindergarten enrolled in CISD — come together to hold a memorial ceremony to place flowers on the graves of C.H., Caroline and their daughter, Laura’s, graves.

I sincerely believe that it is in this memorial, this moment of respect for where our school came from, that Yoe Pride originates. We can claim it to be due to our football team or any academic success we many have. But in the end, our school would not be what it is (and was) if not for the love of one couple for a town almost one hundred years ago.

C.H. & Caroline Yoe
C.H. & Caroline Yoe

To me, school is not just about what you learn out of text books. High school, much like college, was more about the experiences that happened in those years. Organizational memberships. Successes. Failures. Projects. Time management. And the pride of school that teaches one to stand for something.

My four years in high school saw a lot of changes begin. I remember growing up the many traditions that sadly began to fade in my years of high school. They were still there just enough, though, that its those experiences that I cling to most as a memory I love of high school. Because I know that the people attending C.H. Yoe High School today will never understand or experience those things themselves.

One of those things I think about is simply having classes in old main Yoe. Yes, today, Yoe High is new and has far more technology and opportunity for education than we had when I was there. However, I cherish the fact that I got to acknowledge how many had walked those halls ahead of me. It gave me a hushed honor to be there myself. It made me want to make the ghosts of students past proud. It made me want to make the Yoes proud. Perhaps that sounds a little weird or strange, but I truly felt that deep down in my heart.

My dad attended Yoe High School. My aunts, my uncles, my brother. There was a history there that I loved. Football games. Pep Rallys. Snake dance. Open campus.  Flame Pep Rally. The rivalry against Rockdale — Battle of the Bell that crossed the Little River year after year. Band. UIL. Yoe Day. Field Day. Outstanding Student Picnic. All these things fell under one umbrella: Yoe Pride.

And I admit it.  I still have it strong today. And I always will.

“On Yoe High”

Praise to our school we sing,
Each his loyal honor bring;
Together we the Yoemen stand
To spread our praise through all the land.
To represent as best we can, in all our competition,
And our hopes, our pride, our love compound in you,
Dear School

“On Yoe High” was written by former band director Francis Cox and Portia Kruse in 1942.