by Nathan Bass
On Saturday, Oct. 11, the J.E.B. Stuart marching band returned to find their homeroom ransacked. The band, who had spent its entire Saturday representing its school in a competition in Northern Maryland, was shocked. The damages included hundreds of dollars worth of clothing and equipment. Luckily, the damage did not reach the instruments. The band’s instruments, if damaged, would have had a replacement cost in the thousands. Despite these devastating losses, the band quickly recovered with a quality performance at their final competition, achieving a superior, the highest possible rating.
The break-in occurred between the hours of 4 and 12 on Saturday evening. “Someone had strewn on the floor about 50 t-shirts and 50 shoe bags, along with numerous tuxedo jackets and pants and other items, then poured two liter bottles of red fruit punch and lemonade over the whole floor. They also poured a two liter bottle of Coke over the rack of extra tuxedo shirts we keep on hand for those students who cannot afford shirts or forget them. Finally, they took two bottles of hand sanitizer and spread the liquid along the edge of the concert dresses and concert tuxedo jackets.” read an email sent by Eva Novak, President of the band boosters, to Principal Prosperanta Calhoun on Oct. 13, two days after the incident.
The hand sanitizer was finally taken out of the tuxedo jackets and concert dresses by a cleaning professional, preventing a replacement cost of thousands. Luckily the vandalism stopped before it reached the instruments, except, one flute, which was put in the trash and covered with a sweatshirt that was left in the band room by a student. Fortunately, the band t-shirts and tuxedos were able to be salvaged. According to Student Resource Officer Mario Colorado the total cost of the damages totalled $400.
Most damages have been repaired, but the shock of the students, teachers and parents in the band department remains. While the experience is still resonating with some, others looked towards the future. “The band plans on bouncing back and playing better than ever,” said senior Jason Bacherman a few days after the break in. On Oct. 25, the band performed in their final competition.“I’m proud of us, we all pulled together and played better than ever,” said junior Ian Morrison. While the investigation is ongoing, the band looks forward, and plans on continuing to strive to be the best they can be and can continue to be a centerpiece of J.E.B. Stuart performing arts.
Photo by Nathan Bass