• LAST DAY OF SCHOOL Friday, May 24
  • GRADUATION May 26, 7:30 @Ford Stadium
The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

The News Source of Plano East Senior High School

Panther Prints

Marching Band Creates Opportunities For Success


At the strike of the after-school bell, students rush into the hallway to end their days. However, not all students end their days at the bell. With only two hours to practice, they set aside their schoolwork and other extracurricular activities. With the recognition of their 43rd UIL Sweepstakes award, each student must be on the top of their game.

“I do have to always be on top of my classes so that way I’m ahead of my grades, and that way I’m not kicked out,” junior Andrew Hastings said. “[Band] has improved my performance physically and mentally, I’m able to stay focused for longer, and I’ve been a lot happier this year because I’ve made better friends.”

With frequent UIL grade checks, each student must have at least 70 percent in each of their classes in order to be able to compete. If a student is unable to meet these requirements, they withdraw from the band until the next check where they are then evaluated again. By striving for success, each student has an increased sense of self that motivates them to keep up with their grades.

“We had games every Friday and starting in October competition every Saturday, so that took up a lot of social time,” junior Melanie Pinkerton said. “Often people would bring their work to do at the competition during downtime or would all just cram it on Sunday when it was supposed to be the day to relax.”

Story continues below advertisement

As the stress of school work becomes harder, students in marching band must set aside time to attend to their other obligations. With some students involved in other extracurricular activities, many must learn to battle their hardships with their successes.

“I think the trick is always counting on the junior class to reflect the good and bad from this year to pass that on,” head band director John Brennan said.  “They get us started on the right track early next year.”

During the summer, the marching band prepares for their UIL season every day for two hours. Every day, each student must come in ready to practice and learn new techniques. By learning from their mistakes, pushing through setbacks allows for bigger successes to come naturally. Scheduling time for oneself can become difficult when under pressure to do well. With big shoes to fill, the marching band persists and continues to excel in competition even with some setbacks or unexpected issues.

“We did not make finals at the area marching contest, and the morale of the group was pretty low,” Brennan said. “We talked about how you get back up when you get beat down, they ended up pushing through that last week, and did well at the Bands of America Contest.

As the band may take up a lot of time in one’s schedule, many still enjoy the symphony of music and gorgeous flashing lights. With schoolwork taking up time, each student finds a way to make it work with their schedule as they learn to excel both on the field and off. 

“This was the hardest working band that we’ve had in quite a long time,” Brennan said. “They are also incredible performers that always came through.” 

More to Discover