Skyline High School pep band named most spirited in United States by Varsity Brands.
Skyline High School in Pratt has another reason to strike up the pep band in celebration, and it only took six months to happen. The band has been named the Most Spirited Pep Band in the United States. Varsity Brands does cheer camps and competitions across the U.S., including the state game day competition for Kansas State High School Athletic Association, has honored the Skyline Pep Band with this national title, said SHS Band Director Bob Lee.
The Skyline band was chosen from among nine finalists that came from across the country and some were much bigger schools than Skyline. Four of the nine finalists had student populations over 3,000 and bands that averaged 350 students including one band that had 425, Lee said.
There was one band about the same size a Goddard and one about the same size as Skyline plus one, a charter school, that was much smaller and their drum line was nominated, Lee said.
To be nominated, a list of criteria has to be fulfilled. A letter from the school’s cheer coach, Kim Lee at Skyline, and a student essay about the band, provided by Skyline student Adison Hampton, were required. A couple of photos were also submitted with the application. These were submitted online back in December 2018 and January 2019.
In February, Skyline found out they were in the running as a finalist for Most Spirited Pep Band. On Saturday, May 11, Varsity Brands held a big award ceremony at Walt Disney World.
Lee admits that he was happy to be among the finalists but he didn’t think Skyline stood much of a chance of winning because of the larger bands among the finalists.
But in class on May 15, one of his middle school students said they had won and there was a screen shot from the Varsity Brands web site listing all the winners.
The students were excited and absolutely thrilled as was Lee.
“I was very surprised. With the competition we were up against, I didn’t think we had much of a chance,” Lee said. “I’m excited and surprised that we came through that way.”
Winning the Spirit award includes a plaque or trophy plus a $3,000 prize for the band program. Lee said he is consulting with Skyline Superintendent Becca Flowers about what to do with the money but he thinks it will be used to purchase some new band instruments.
Some of the money will be set aside for a celebration with the band students.
The Skyline pep band plays at all home football and basketball games as well as other activities such as homecoming. They also travel to post season games. The band has 56 high school students and 42 middle school students that compose about 60 percent of the entire student body in the pep band, Lee said.
Lee said he thought one of the drawing points for winning the award was the number student body members in the band program.
A statement on the Varsity Brands website said: The (Skyline) pep band strives for perfection at each competition and performance to showcase their talent, but their main priority is to be visible for the school and community.
Other finalists in the pep band category are CC Winn High School, Eagle Pass, Texas; Delta Streets Academy, Greenwood, Miss.; Muncy Junior Senior High School, Muncy, Pa.; Nogales High School, La Puenta, Calif.: Ramona High School, Riverside, Calif.; Sandia High School, Albuquerque, N.M.; Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.: Wickliffe High School, Wickliffe, Ohio.