FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie Fontenot
Phone: (409) 766-5146
GALVESTON, Texas – Nov. 4, 2022 - While the season is soon coming to an end for Ball High School’s Tor band, the influence of one band member - senior drum captain Colin Thomas – is sure to echo forward even after the marching stops.
During a time when Galveston ISD is looking ahead to exciting new developments such as an upgraded football stadium, an innovative new high school, and other improved realities that will only enhance the district’s educational offerings, Thomas is an example of the kind of student those efforts will impact – students who have the ability to use what they learn during their time at GISD and positively benefit themselves and those around them.
The entire high school drumline has been influenced by Thomas’ service as captain this fall, as well as efforts he made even before this school year began.
A Caring Heart and a Dream
It all started when Thomas attended a percussion camp along with two other students at Texas A&M University-Commerce during the summer between his sophomore and junior year.
“I attended the camp and thought it would be beneficial to others,” Thomas said. “I loved the teachers and instructors. There were great teaching methods and motivation, and it provided great results at the end.”
So great, in fact, that Thomas set it upon his heart to find a way his percussion bandmates could experience the same transformative camp the following summer as well, even those who couldn’t afford it.
With the help of Mr. Rob Lewis, Ball High School Incubator Director, Thomas’ percussion director, Andrew Vowell, as well as guidance from Dr. Julia Ramirez, the then-Ball High School assistant principal who just happened to be in the classroom shadowing Mr. Lewis when Thomas presented his initial pitch, feedback was received that helped Thomas narrow down an ask and a plan.
After a lot of rehearsing and added guidance and ideas from community members and family friends, Thomas was ready to present his idea to an organization that could help bring his dream to fruition – the Galveston ISD Education Foundation.
“We were so impressed with the initiative brought forth by Colin when he pitched his presentation to GEF,” GEF Executive Director Brittany Viegas said. “His passion was sincere, and the board was very impressed with his ability to convey exactly how the camp would have a positive impact on the band. Not only that, but he had already raised most of the required funds on his own, before coming to us.”
“We were only hoping for $2,500 originally,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t believe it when they said, ‘We love it – here’s $5,000.’”
“I was shocked, astonished," Thomas added. "In the meantime, we also started collecting other donations from band parents and private investors and businesses. I couldn’t believe it. I actually did it.”
Hard Work Pays Off
Just as Thomas hoped, the entire drumline was able to attend drum camp before the 2022-2023 school year began. Knowledge was gained, bonds were strengthened, and memories were formed that will undoubtedly live in the hearts of all in attendance for years to come.
“I’m happy for the whole drum team,” Becky Thomas said, Colin’s mother. “I rode on the bus with them to and from the camp this summer and there was a big difference. The chatter, the togetherness, the unity – it was all there because of the camp.”
The Dream Reaches Further
While the second half of Thomas’ senior year is approaching and he’s looking ahead to future endeavors, his passion for bettering Ball High’s percussion program remains. He still hopes to continue fundraising for additional students to attend the camp in the following years, even after he graduates.
His vision and hard work has also inspired other students to pursue their own fundraising efforts, such as how one bandmate was inspired to pursue funding in hopes of bringing back the Ball High School color guard.
“He’s given his fellow percussionists opportunities they wouldn’t have had on their own this year,” Ball High School Band Director Steven Farrell said. “He did the hard work and other people just followed his path. Otherwise, no one would have gone down that path. He has one of the kindest spirits I’ve ever met as a teacher. He seems to want to see success in the program more than he sees success in himself.”
Because of Thomas’ work with the fundraiser, his positive attitude, and having attended the camp two years in a row, Thomas has an open invitation to audition for A&M Commerce’s college band.
“In years to come, I want the Ball High School band to compete at state and not just area competition,” Thomas said.
“For a lot of students like myself, band becomes a second home. I want it to be the best it can be for every student who enters the program.”
Photo cutline: Thomas (red shirt) and percussion bandmates prior to boarding the bus to Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Photo cutline: Thomas (left front row) and percussion bandmates receiving instruction during camp.
Photo cutline: Thomas (right) poses with percussion bandmates prior to performing at halftime during a recent Ball High School football game.