GOREVILLE — People may want to hide when they see Goreville High School Band Director Barbara Stanley. It may seem like she is always raising money. What she is really doing is providing opportunities for her students.
One recent opportunity offered the members of Goreville High School band the chance to participate in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C. Many students in the band and its auxiliary groups had never visited the nation’s capital.
Stanley said it all started when Superintendent Steve Webb recommended the band to represent Illinois in the National Memorial Day Parade.
“It went up the chain to the governor’s office. The governor’s office chose Goreville from all the recommendations and sent it to Washington D.C.,” Stanley said.
She received a call from someone with the parade in Washington D.C. to say Goreville was chosen as a finalist. A few days later, a call came to congratulate the band on being chosen to march in the parade.
Stanley also had to fill out an application telling about all awards the band has won. That long list includes grand champion of Mount Vernon Fall Festival Parade for the past four years, along with many others.
“We don’t perform at football games, so our main competition is parades. We march in parades almost every Saturday in September and October,” Stanley said. “We are first in all almost the all parades we enter.”
A total of 108 people, including students, teachers and chaperones, traveled to Washington D.C. in two chartered buses at a cost of more than $72,000. The trip cost $675 per person.
“We did many, many fundraisers the entire school year. Most of the kids did raise their money. Our community was very, very generous,” Stanley said.
She added that everyone was on a payment schedule. What they had not raised by the each scheduled date, they had to pay.
The band left Goreville on Thursday, May 25, and returned May 30.
“We were out there to sight see Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The parade was on Monday. As soon as the parade was over, we loaded the buses to come home.
One of the highlights of the trip was participating in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. The wreath had the school’s name on it.
Another highlight was attending the National Memorial Day Concert on the capitol lawn, the one that is broadcast on PBS. Christopher Jackson started and ended the concert, and the students know him because he’s from Cairo.
“We saw every sight there is to see, basically. It was a very neat experience for students who have never seen the sights out there,” Stanley said. “We also got to see Rolling Thunder, all the Vietnam veterans who ride their motor cycles out there.”
The greatest honor for Stanley was marching down Constitution Avenue with her students as they passed the Washington Memorial, the White House and other patriotic sites. Stanley has two sons serving in the military, and her dad was in the Navy during World War II.
“I have about eight years before I retire. I would definitely like to take another group,” Stanley said.
For now, Stanley will put on her Beta Club sponsor hat and work on raising money to take students to the national convention at the end of June.