By Josh Resnek
The mayor’s decision to impose a travel ban two weeks ago on all School Department sponsored travel has dampened the energy behind fund raising efforts intended to aid in making out of state trips possible for Everett’s championship marching band, its award winning choir, percussion ensemble and its STEM team.
The travel ban, which the mayor insisted on during a climactic meeting two weeks ago questioning School Department expenditures, has been causing parents, teachers, and students to all bemoan the possibility that championship teams from Everett will not be allowed to march, to sing or to compete in national events or even at events in neighboring states.
Even if the mayor reinstates out of state travel, money raising efforts have been put several weeks behind in efforts that will be difficult to resuscitate.
“The mayor’s out of state travel ban is ridiculous,” said one outraged parent of a high school student who wished to remain unnamed.
“Does this mean if the championship choir is invited to Nashua, New Hampshire a bus can’t be hired to take them there and back when a trip to Pittsfield would be longer and cost more?” added the parent.
The stakes, however, are higher than this for Everett High School Championship level participants.
The championship winning Everett High School Marching Band has been told its trip to Washington D.C. to participate in a national parade on Memorial Day in the nation’s capital, has likely been scrapped because of the mayor’s edict.
“This might be the only time in their lives that some of these kids get to travel to Washington D.C. It is a once in a lifetime possibility,” said Assistant Superintendent Kevin Shaw.
“We’re not from Weston or Newton. These are Everett kids. They won competitions. They should be treated like winners. They should be allowed to go,” added Shaw.
Michael Baldessarre, Everett’s Director of Special Education, said Monday that Everett kids participating at a high level in major competitions cannot afford to miss out on special opportunities that mean so much to EHS students applying to college.
“Whether you are a member of the championship marching band, the choir or the percussion ensemble, listing that participation on your college application can be the whole difference in getting accepted to a place like the Berkeley College of Music,” he said.
Dr. Baldassarre added the same is true of the STEM team, whose members benefit greatly from competing in regional and national competitions at first-rate colleges like RPI in upstate New York.
The EHS band has previously competed out of state with great success bringing honor to the city and to the participants themselves, Assistant Superintendent Charles Obremski said Monday.
“Not letting these kids go out of state to show their stuff after winning awards and being invited is like refusing to pass out baseballs to the baseball team,” he said.
His colleagues nodded their heads in approval.
“They deserve the right to participate,” Shaw repeated.
The matter of the travel ban and its consequences is on the agenda for discussion at a School Committee meeting scheduled for next Monday night