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From Anxiety to Excitement… State Finals Week!!!

The week leading up to Semi-State was filled with anxiety and lots of nervousness from students, staff, and parents alike. Now that the Semi-State hurdle has been cleared, this week was filled with excitement – “WE’RE GOING TO STATE!!!!” There was still a lot of hard work taking place at practices this week, and hard work behind the scenes as well to ensure everything was a go for State Finals! It was a chilly, drizzly week, but the band and guard members were hard at work on the field making sure their show was worthy of a state finalist.


On Thursday evening, 11/4/2021, the band was treated to a pizza dinner and a Cleopatra-themed cake. The decorating crew worked hard to add all the extra sparkle and WOW that they could to the band room and the student lockers. Shoes were wiped down and polished to look their best for State. It was a bitter cold evening and the wind had a bite to it, but that didn’t stop these awesome students from giving it all they could in practice. There were some “last-run-through-at-practice” traditions carried out that provided smiles for the students (and a little bit of grief for the director!).

The amazing Cleopatra-inspired cake made by Jenny Osborn. Beautiful!

The students loved these "CLEOBOBTRA" coloring sheets!

Well wishes from the 2nd and 3rd graders

The band received these balloons with a note that said, "Congratulations On Being a 2021 ISSMA State Finalist! Carroll High School Charger Pride Directors and Staff" . What a super thoughtful thing to do!

These kids were warming up inside the concession stand during a break in practice.


Friday, 11/5/2021, was an exciting day for the students. They dressed up for school in their best dress clothes to remind everyone of what an exciting and important weekend it was going to be for them. They were proud and pleased when they were wished “Good Luck” by other students and teachers throughout the day. THIS was their moment, and they were excited to be recognized for their incredible hard work!


After a short practice after school, the students rushed home to change, eat dinner, and pack for their exciting weekend away. They were to be back to school by 6:30pm for a send-off ceremony full of traditions before loading buses to head to Indianapolis for the night.


At the send-off ceremony, each student was given a gold balloon. Together, they gathered in a circle, seniors in the center, and read the poem “Spirit”. This poem was written in October 1994, by Brian Eager, Woodlan High School Marching Band, Class of 1973, as the Spirit of Woodlan advanced to State Finals for the first time ever in its history. It is now tradition for Spirit members to read this poem together out loud as they leave for State Finals. It holds a very special place in my heart, personally, as I was a sophomore member of that 1994 Spirit of Woodlan band that went to State for the first time ever. I remember reading this poem together back then, and it chokes me up just thinking about it today! At the conclusion of the poem, the students released their balloons into the sky. Next, the senior members had the honor of placing the “21” on the Spirit of Woodlan semi, indicating the year that they were ISSMA State Finalists. (Never mind that they did not leave a space between the “19” and the “21”, so it appears the band went to the Finals in 1921!)

Cars were decorated to support the band and wish them well!

Reading the Spirit poem together

The seniors adding the "21" to the years of being a State Finalist.

As the students boarded their buses for their trip to Indianapolis, they were given goody bags with words of encouragement to enjoy on their ride. They were excited to be escorted from the high school to 469 by the Woodburn Fire and EMS. It was an exciting escort and send off for these incredible students, and really made them feel special!

This was such a nice escort for the kids!!

The band and guard, and a whole bunch of parent chaperones, spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express in Fishers, Indiana. After a short social time, it was lights out early to get ready for their big day ahead! With all their excitement, I’m not sure how well they all slept!


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