Four Seniors Honored with Band Achievement Awards


Solie Jackson

Finnegan Jackson, Duke Dickson, Emma Heydenberk, and Ellie Wooden all sitting in the band room.

Last Monday, at the annual Pops Band Concert, four high school seniors, Duke Dickson, Emma Heydenberk, Finnegan Jackson, and Ellie Wooden were honored with receiving prestigious awards for their past four years to Concert, Marching, and or Jazz Band.

The Louis Armstrong Award, The Directors Award, The Patrick Gilmore Award, and The John Philip Sousa Award were given to the seniors. The director of the band, Wade French, chose the winners. The award is specific for each senior’s contribution to the band.

Jackson is the only Jazz Band award recipient winning the Louis Armstrong Award.

“This is the one thing that sums up how hard I’ve worked and how much I’ve put into the band,” said Jackson. “I’ve been doing band not for four years, but for one four-year period. No breaks. I’ve put in hours of hard work in many different areas, and to leave high school with such an honor shows that it paid off big time,”

The award is given to the senior who shows “…passion and dedication for Jazz music,” said Jackson. He has been in Jazz Band since his sophomore year and has lettered every year since

“When people hear I won this award, they’ll immediately know I take my work seriously (especially in Jazz). It does nothing but open doors, and is perfect because I can continue my career with a higher reputation,” said Jackson  

“I think I recived the award becuase I am a leader in Jazz Band. People would come to me if they can’t remember what time to show up, what to wear, etc. As the lead trumpet, I lead my section wherever need be, and lead the band musically,” said Jackson. “I love Jazz Band and have focused most of my energy there. I’ve been in a smaller Jazz combo for a couple years and tried out for the All State Jazz Band a few times.”

Dickson, Wooden, and Heydenberk were Drum Majors this Marching band season. Drum Major is a coveted leadership position in band.

Emma Heydenberk won The Director’s Award.

“The Director’s award is a logistical award, it goes to someone who puts time and effort into the band and make sure everything runs the way it’s supposed to,” said Heydenberk.

“I’m really happy that I got this award. There are so many amazing people in our band program. They all put so much effort into the group and I’m honored to be a part of that group,” said Heydenberk.

Dickson won the John Philip Sousa Award. The highly respected award is the highest acknowledgment given to a student in the high school band program. The award recognizes “…outstanding musicianship and dedication,” said Dickson.

“Ever since I was in elementary school I have wanted to be in band,” said Dickson. “It has helped shape my life, and there is no better activity I could have been involved in for four years. I may forget the classes I took and the sports I played, but I will never forget the memories or the friends I made in high school band.”

Duke Dickson was a dedicated and talented band member. Not only being a Drum Major he also made All-State band this year.

“I think the real reason I won was for the little things. Doing those little things for four years. Helping other students, moving equipment, keeping a good attitude, and just doing whatever I could to further improve the band,” said Dickson

Ellie Wooden won the Patrick Gilmore Award, the runner-up to the Souza award.

“It showed me how I’ve advanced musically and how Mr. French believed I was a good fit for the final award.”

Wooden was passionate and determined to get the Drum Major position auditioning all four years of high school even though the position is only given to seniors.

“It made me feel like my hard work had paid off,” said Wooden. “It was proof I was a good fit for leading the band.”

All students are planning to continue their musical careers but not necessarily in a band program and are proud of their achievements.

“I am extremely honored and privileged. These awards show endurance and great dedication,” said Dickson.