NCHS Announces 2021 Graduation Date, Approves Band and Choir New York Trip

During the District #99 School Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 19, the board set a 2020-2021 Graduation Date of Sunday, May 23rd, 2021. They chose a Sunday to avoid any sporting events that may be in session by then and also avoided Memorial Day Weekend.

NCHS Principal Mark Begando says they are hoping for “as traditional a ceremony” as possible. However, it was pointed out that even in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, the number of people who can gather for an event is limited. The school will continue to monitor the situation and plan accordingly.

The School Board also approved a 2022 Band and Choir New York trip. NCHS Music Director Steve Browne took a moment to address the Board regarding the trip. He explained how, in 2016, the Band and Choir took a similar trip where the Band had the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall and the Choir sang at the Statue of Liberty.

Browne called it, “An unforgettable experience” and said that, in 2016, he told the Board it was an opportunity that would never come around again.

“Well. . .it came around again.” Browne said during the meeting.

According to Browne, this

second once-in-a-lifetime experience is possible because of the impresion the 2016 Band and Choir left on their tour guide at the time. Their guide was impressed with the group, not only with how well they performed and how the students presented themselves, but also with their excitement and appreciation of the significance of where they were playing. Their guide told Browne that NCHS’s music program was invited back any time they wanted to return, and when Browne contacted the company to set up the 2022 trip, he discovered they meant what they had said. An official invitation was sent shortly after the call.

Originally, the plan was for just the band to perform at Carnegie Hall. However, Browne called the company a week or two after the band was invited to play to ask if the Choir could also come, and possibly perform at the Statue of Liberty agan. However, Browne learned that a Choir Festival is scheduled to take place at Carnegie Hall on the same day, after the Band Festival. The Choir had to audition for this Festival, so Browne sent in 3 of the videos from the Music Department Youtube channel. By the next morning, the Choir was accepted as well. So, within one day, Browne said, the students here at Nashville High School will have the opportunity to perform twice at Carnegie Hall.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s unimaginable, I still can’t believe it.” Browne said. The board has approved the trip.

During his report at the meeting, Principal Mark Begando praised the community, staff, and students, citing their efforts as the reason NCHS was able to finish the first semester without any interruptions. And while exams were cancelled, students taking dual credit classes were able to finish required exams. However, even with the positives, Begando did point out that attendance and tardies are still an issue.

Also discussed during the meeting were finances. The school has recently received the next large installment of property taxes from Washington County back taxes. They have about 97% of the property tax settlements, and expect the rest of the money to come in within the next few weeks. This should put the records more on track, as they have been about a month behind in their records when compared to previous years. Superintendent Brad Turner reported that a second round of the Cares Act has allotted about 2.2 billion dollars to Illinois for K12 education. Their allotment of that money is about $134,000, and they are currently looking into the rules regarding the use of this money.

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