Puyallup students weren’t going to be marching in the Daffodil Festival’s annual Grand Floral Parade this year.
That is, until Emerald Ridge High School’s Melanie Stambaugh was named Daffodil Queen a few weeks ago.
School district officials decided they should figure something out to make sure Stambaugh was backed by a band from her home district. It is tradition for the band from the Queen’s high school to lead the Festival Royalty float at the front of the parade.
So for the past two weeks, band leaders from Rogers, Emerald Ridge and Puyallup High have been working to pull together an composite band of students from the three schools.
“This was a district decision that we would support the queen,” said Bruce Leonardy, band instructor at Rogers High School.
The group of about 100 students met for their first practice together today at Rogers.
The reason that Puyallup School District decided not to participate in the parade this year is because the event occurs the weekend following spring break, said Karen Hansen, district spokeswoman.
It’s hard to gather students to practice when they’re all on vacation, she said. Plus, budget constraints made the district mindful of transportation costs, she said.
All the students participating volunteered to practice during spring break, as did the band instructors.
Leonardy said the that means this year’s students in the parade are ones that have a strong interest in marching.
That certainly is the case for senior Becca Bisson, a trumpet player and senior at Rogers High School.
“I was upset when we found out we weren’t doing it,” said Bisson, pictured in the forefront of the photo above. “It’s a bonding experience.”
Daffodil Queen Stambaugh herself is a member of the band at Emerald Ridge.
Emerald Ridge junior Chelsea Nylin said she’s glad Stambaugh’s fellow band members will be there to support her at the parade. Nylin plays the flute, and will be a band major in Saturday’s parade.
“At first we were disappointed that it wouldn’t be just Emerald Ridge behind her,” Nylin said. “But after thinking about it, I think this is a cool showing because as queen, she also represents the Puyallup School District as a whole.”