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Competitive Marching in Cudahy - Keep It or Get Rid of It?

Last week, I received emails and messages from several parents in the district concerning the possible elimination of competitive marching the Cudahy High School Band program.  Plus I read a flurry of posts on Facebook.  At the time, I seriously knew very little about the subject.  (Well, I still don't know that much!)   I was never in band.  My youngest son is a 5th grade percussionist but not yet  near the high school programs.  However, I have certainly seen and read the passion of parents, students, and alumni in the district and I have learned, to a general degree, the pros and cons of competitive marching.  

After all the varying information, I honestly still don't know who or what to fully believe!
 
My hope is, when this is all said and done, when a decision is made - this decision will be for the benefit of the kids and not because it will ultimately make someone's job easier or that it will save someone time or money.   I want my 5th grade percussionist to have similar memories (either with competitive or non-competitive marching) as the passionate Cudahy band alumni who now tell their stories of friendship, music, and traveling.  It is those stories that made me encourage my son to join band in the first place.
 
Simply, I want  enthusiastic music staff  (with the support from their administrators) who are committed to creating new exciting memories for my son and his band friends - memories that include: goals, personal challenges, and pride for their school.  
 
Here is the link to the high schosol slide show, describing the reasons for not having competitive marching in Cudahy.  1-6-15 Slide Show.
 
The slide show is informative.  The one thing in this slide show that I personally disagree with is:  kids (with their parent's help of course), if they love an activity, will make time for it and stay in it.   I speak this opinion for myself and for most parents I know.   Over the years - there must be more reasons for the reduction of band students than just the students' busier schedules or an aversion to competitive marching starting between the 1990s and now.  
 
Enthusiasm in any activity breeds enthusiasm.
 
Here is a link to an online petition started by a student and parent at the high school - Keeping Competitive Marching Band at Cudahy.  There are about 293 signatures - and the article in the petitiion is also informative.   I wish there was a way to go back and view the comments for all the signatures, starting from the beginning. There was a lot of passion in the comments I read.
 
The next school board meeting is January 26.  If you have an opinion about this, I recommend that you attend.  Again, whatever decision is made, I hope it is made for the right reasons. 
 

Scholarship Opportunities for Private Band, Orchestra, or Vocal Lessions

I learned about this music scholarship from my husband, who was told by my son's music teacher.  

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GPS Helped Us Find Our Stolen Phone

I'm about tell a story about the benefit of having the GPS feature on a cell phone.  The cell phones in our house all have this feature - really for no other reason than I am a fan of iPhones.  iPhones (and most Androids I believe) have GPS. 

For years, I have pondered the benefit of the GPS feature of cell phones. 
 
On one hand, I like being able to use the GPS feature - if I happen to set my phone down and then forget where I put it!   (Yes, this happens more than I will ever admit!)   I also like knowing my teenage son has this feature.  If he misplaces his phone, we have a chance of finding it!   (My husband is one of those ridiculous people who always knows where his phone is.)
 
On the other hand, I don't like that there is a feature on my phone that keeps track of where I am.  I find this a bit creepy.  There have been times when I intentionally turned off the GPS feature simply because I was unnerved at the thought of someone tracking me.
 
 
I Started Getting Data Max Emails
 
A few weeks ago, I was sitting at work - working.  Suddenly, I receive an email from AT&T saying my 13 year old son's data plan maxed out and that I was being charged $20 for more data.  Furious (he is not allowed to use any data on his phone) I call my son.  He doesn't answer.  I can't reach my husband either. 
 
I attempt to continue working.
 
An hour later, I receive two more emails saying that more data was used on my son's phone.  $20 dollars worth of data - and then $20 more - was charged.  I call and then text my son.  No response.  To prevent more data from being used, I go to the AT&T web site and discontinue cell phone service.
 
I call my husband again;  he finally answers.  
 
My husband talks to (well, yells at) my son.  My son - I hear his frantic voice over the phone - says that he has not been using his phone - his phone is gone.
 
He can't find it. 
 
 
Lost or Stolen Phone
 
Extemely concerned, I log into iCloud (the web site for Apple gadget users).  iCloud shows the status of all of our phones, including my son's phone.
 
Clear as day, the name of the phone was changed from my son's name to the name of the boy at our house the previous afternoon.  My son's friend.
 
I immediately look at the GPS map.  The GPS Map on the phone says Offline.
 
Quickly  (via lightening-speed Google searches) I learn that if you discontinue cell service on your phone, the GPS feature stops working on the phone.  So I go back to the AT&T web site and reactivate the phone.
 
The GPS map now works. The phone shows that it's located in the area of my house.  (Keep in mind, I'm at work.)
 
Confused, I set off the iPhone lost phone alarm.   Even if the phone is on silent mode, the lost phone alarm makes a very loud noise.  Someone at our house will hear it.
 
 
At Our House
 
When I set off the alarm, my son's friend was coincidentally at our door.   He came to pick up the football cleats he forgot at our house from the day before. 
 
 "Ryan, do you have my son's phone?"   My husbands asks.  ("Ryan" is a fake name of course.)
 
"No."  Ryan said.  "Can I get my cleats?"
 
"Ryan, the GPS shows that you have the phone and that you changed the phone to your name."   My husband continues and he is upset.
 
Ryan looks paler.  "No, I don't have the phone and I don't know where it is. Can I just get my cleats? "
 
At this point, the lost phone alarm goes off in Ryan's pocket.  The alarm goes off right in front of my son and my husband.
 
The color leaves Ryan's face.  
 
He pulls out my son's phone.
 
"Is this the phone you are looking for?"  Ryan says.  "I found it - I didn't know whose it was - and I  decided to keep it!   Now can I get my cleats? "   Ryan gives the phone to my husband - gets his cleats - and leaves our house. 
 
The phone in my husband's hand now has a new background and a new password we don't know. (Easy things to fix.)  We have the phone back.
 
 
Final
 
Some of the things we've learned from this event:
 
*   The GPS feature on cell phones is a good thing and may have saved my son from a permanentally stolen phone. 
 
*   We are lucky.  This kid was in front of us when the lost phone alarm went off in his pocket.  How likely is that?
 
*  Password protect your phones!  Doing this would have saved us from the $60 data fee charged to us while our stolen phone was gone. (Ironically, I never allowed my son to password protect his phone before - thinking he was keeping things from us if he did.)
 
*  That day - my son learned a sad lesson about human character and "friendship".  
 
*  One day my son (all of us actually) will look back on this event and have a crazy story to tell.
 
 

Shop with Amazon Smile and Amazon donates to the charity of your choice!

 I just noticed this now.   (Well actually, I believe this was brought up to me in the past but I didn't fully understand.)   I shop at Amazon all the time, so I love this.

 
Amazon.com has a feature where it donates 0.5% of your purchase to a charity of your choice.  All you need to do is go to smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want, and make your future purchase from this site.
 
If you shop at Amazon anyway, you might as well use this page and help a charity that means something to you.  Nothing will change if you shop from this site.  You will still have your Prime membership (if you have one).  Prices remain the same.  You still get free shipping deals.   I am listing some of the Cudahy charities that you can donate to via smile.amazon.com.
 
  • Cudahy-St Francis Interfaith Program For The Elderly 

     
  • Cudahy Family Library Endowment Fund Inc

     
  • Project Concern Of Cudahy-St Francis Inc

     
  • Cudahy Sports Boosters Inc (Baseball, Softball)

     
  • Cudahy-St Francis Little Baseball Association Inc

     
  • Pioneer Drum And Bugle Corps Inc

     
  • Leslyn-Ettes Baton Twirling Corps Inc

     
  • Nativity Of The Lord Congregation

     
  • St John Ev Lutheran Church & Cdc & Dev Ctr

     
  • PTA Wisconsin Lincoln School 

     
  • PTA Wisconsin Je Jones PTA

Are You Old School?

 Here is link to a great article from the OnMilwaukee web site. Such nastolgia. 

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