Each year High School bands from all over the country plan to participate in the Clark Atlanta Band Brawl. It’s a band showcase to highlight some of the best High School bands in the country. One of the featured bands was Northside High School from Lafayette, LA.
Northside High School, a predominantly Black High School, has been faced with much opposition in recent years. Alumni has been trying to pull together resources to help the school’s band and athletic department get more financial aid to boost the school’s impact in the community but haven’t been as successful as they anticipated. Many times, the students and their faculty feel overlooked. But, in Atlanta, Professor Miguel Bonds, Band Director for Talladega College in Alabama saw everything he needed to see in Northside High School.
As the band prepared to leave on their busses to head back to Louisiana, Bonds asked Northside High School’s band director, Alexander Thomas, if he could hear his seniors play. “He wanted to hear my kids play immediately. For a High School band member it is an honor to play before a college band director. The kids were eager and ready,” said Thomas.
Before the busses pulled off, Bonds asked the students to auditon for him right in the parking lot in Atlanta. He was so impressed with their abilities and enthusiam that he offered every senior in the band a scholarship to Talladega College. Black Boot Media has been informed that at least six of those seniors have responded and accepted the scholarship offer from Talladega.
“This has never happened before,” said Thomas. “We have had students to choose to go to the same college but I have never seen a college band director honor every senior in the band with the opportunity to attend college on a scholarship at the same time.”
Kaydra Ellis, a teacher and an Alumni member of Northside, said the students are used to hearing insults about their school but have always been taught to perservere regardless. “We have always been called the school on the other side of the track but Northside has always produced greatness and we are taught to ignore it. This is just a testament to them that hard work always pays off,” said Ellis.
Talladega doesn’t even have a football team. The band is the highlight of the University. In recent years, their popularity has grown among high school band students, especially among Black High Schools. Commonly known as “The Marching Tornado”, the band has been featured on many national platforms, including most recently, playing for the Inauguration of United States President Donald Trump.
Thomas says in the 13 years he has directed bands it has never happened like this. The students received more than $125,000 worth of scholarship offers on the spot. “It is a great light for the school and we are grateful to Mr. Bonds for recognizing the potential in our students,” said Thomas. While Black Boot couldn’t reach Bonds for comment, we did receive copies of the Scholarship Certificates from the college where the offer and the acceptances are confirmed.
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