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High school band students begin three-a-day practices in extreme summer temperatures

Posted at 8:49 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 21:49:04-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As some people are constantly recommended to stay indoors in this year's extreme summer heat, some high school students don’t have a choice.

Band students at Kingsville ISD's H.M King High School have started their second week of their three-a-day summer band camp practices, but the school has rules in place to keep its student's safety as a priority.

"We start off in the morning and we meet at seven. We go outside from 7-9:30 am to encompass the coolest parts of the morning and then throughout the day our practices and sectionals are done indoors. Then we go in the evening from 5-7 pm outdoors," H.M King's Head Band Director Porfirio Mendez Jr said.

With hotter temperatures this year than previous ones, existing policies are even more stressed, like having an unlimited water supply with a mandatory five-minute water break every twenty minutes.

H.M. King also has an open water policy, allowing students to take a break whenever their body tells them it's time. The band directors also check asphalt temperatures before every practice to ensure it's safe for students to march on and provide temperature checks for students if needed.

Mendez said there are different protocols depending on the temperature. For example, if the ambient temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat index is 115 degrees Fahrenheit, then students will refrain from practicing outside, but even with those policies in place, the sun still challenges students in the heat.

"I think the hardest part is going outside in the afternoons, especially with instruments. It’s kind of discouraging, especially with the sun blazing. It’s way hotter this year than all the other years I've experienced," H.M King's senior drum major Emily Desantos said.

Miller High School students also started their band camp practices this week. Band directors must complete a yearly marching band safety training prior to the start of band camp to recognize signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke among students. Band students must also have a physical on file before participating in the camp.

"Safety is everything. The student's safety comes before anything else we do, and luckily we haven’t had any issues with kids overheating," Miller High School Head Band Director Arnold Garza said.

As many challenges the sun brings for these high school students, they said they do it all in preparation for band competition and high school football season this fall.

"I love the activity. With all the hard work that we put in, blood, sweat, and tears, it’s all worth it in the end," H.M. King senior drum major Julian Mendez said.

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