Southside Band Selected For National Award

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Southside High School is recognized for having one of the top music education programs in the country.

Yamaha Corporation picked the Southside Band for the Support-Music Merit Award. Only 120 schools are selected for the honor each year.

“It gives you some satisfaction knowing what you do is important,” Sean Carrier, Band Director said. “It's recognized by other people and especially for our students and our parents and Southside High School. I just feel that pride in what they’ve done.”

To receive the Support-Music Merit Award, schools were evaluated on their overall program, its success, its history and what the school does to promote music education.

“It's incredible I didn't see it going in but now that I'm in it, I really see they do a lot of good work here and they really put a lot of effort into making sure everyone can be the best that they can,” Jesse Warren, band member said.

Seniors Jesse Warren and Caleb Taylor plan to study music education in college.

“I feel like I've been given a great opportunity by these people, so why not try to give others opportunities like I was given,” Warren said.

“The teachers give a lot of opportunities,” Taylor said. “I've always wanted to do music.”

Southside was also named the number one Blue Ribbon Band of Excellence back in December.

Carrier said this kind of recognition allows the program to move on three years after a travel agent scammed band members out of more than $250,000 that was meant for a band trip to Hawaii.

“All the other things that happened or have happened you know are just a distraction to that, so when you can go back to just doing what you love to do, and what you try to do well every day, it`s very satisfying,” he said.

Ope Saaga was sentenced Monday (March 30) to 63 months in prison. Carrier said he testified in court for the sentencing. He said the band is moving on and will travel to Orlando for their annual trip at the end of May.