It’s been many years since the Longhorn Marching Band received a top score award at an inter-regional competition, but this past Saturday, Mrs. Daria Mason led her Longhorns to not just one, but three out of the five top region awards: Outstanding General Effect, Outstanding Percussion Performance, and Outstanding Music. If you have had the pleasure of hearing their halftime performances, you know these students had been working hard, but it’s terrific to have this formal recognition of excellence.
Community awareness and recognition of quality in our students’ accomplishments is important. Our service clubs, such as Kiwanis and Rotary, exemplify this as a matter of practice, but less formal recognition is also important. Our high school and middle school athletic teams are off to excellent starts and we have already had our first play at the high school.
Attending and supporting local student events is not only a great evening of entertainment, but shows our young people that in our community the support for kids is a core value.
Along with our students’ accomplishments, we have other reasons to strike up the band, namely our three construction projects that are under way. Last week, CNBC and the Phoenix Business Journal featured new solar energy projects taking place in Arizona. PUSD’s project, which is currently the largest school project of its kind, is getting national press and attention and is now under construction. This 1.2-megawatt project is being funded entirely with private investment monies to the tune of $12 million. The solar arrays will provide us with clean and reliable power at very predictable rates until we take free and clear ownership of the systems in 15 years. For those visiting our campuses, we ask for your patience over the next several weeks of construction. The playground and parking shade structures that will serve as mounts for the solar panels, make for large-scale construction endeavors. PHS and RCMS, in particular, will have some temporary parking lot closures. It’s fairly easy to keep students and parents informed, but we will also do our best to post, in advance, for the general public these temporary closures. The good news is that inconveniences will be short-lived as we turn the solar systems on Dec. 8.
Construction on our agriculture building, as I am sure most of you have seen, is moving forward and it is on schedule and on budget. By setting aside specially designated vocational funding dollars for a period of years, this state-of-the-art facility was made feasible and will be student-ready at the start of the second semester.
Lastly, over the October break, we will be utilizing the small balance of our construction bond dollars to complete the renovation of the PHS auditorium. New seating, new paint and, thanks to good flood insurance which covered damages from a July storm, new carpeting, will all be completed over the two-week period. These improvements will not only greatly benefit our students, but also provide a quality public venue for a very supportive community.
In closing, I encourage you to attend our students’ extra-curricular events and join us in celebrating new facilities and Payson’s leadership role in renewable energy. With good things happening, its time and very fitting that we strike up the (award winning) band.