Since 2003, the President of the United States has recognized outstanding citizens for their commitment and dedication to improving their community.
This year, the Austin High School Sonic Boom Marching Band was presented the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for their outstanding community service and continuous advancement of positive educational experiences through the arts.
“It makes us feel really accomplished and proud because we’ve done something great and big together,” said Austin High School ninth grader and sousaphone player Trinity Randall.
To kick off the celebration, students, staff, family members, and alumni were welcomed with refreshments and snacks before joining together in the Austin High School auditorium.
Special guests included Assistant Superintendent Dr. Geovanny Ponce, Trustee Judith Cruz, Houston City Council Member Joaquin Martinez, Houston City Council Member Robert Gallegos, Precinct 6 Judge Victor Trevino, and Precinct 6 Constable Sylvia Trevino.
“We’ve seen so many different generations come through,” said Principal Orlando Reyna. “Our band director has been doing an amazing job over the decades, and we’ve seen how much he’s given to this community and how much the students have been able to learn from this program and bring back their little ones to also be involved in this exposure that he gives them by being members of the Sonic Boom band.”
Attendees were able to enjoy performances by the marching bands from Austin High School, Navarro Middle School, and Edison Middle School, as well as Austin’s Emeralds Drill Team, Envy Color Guard, and Jades Majorettes.
Under the leadership of Director of Music Keavon Runnels, the Sonic Boom band has performed at the Susan B. Komen Cancer Walk, civil rights festivals, Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce events, parades, community festivals, toy drives, college events, and conventions. They have also been honored with the Congressional Award of Recognition, City of Houston Proclamation of Sonic Boom Day, several championship awards, and were named a Grammy Signature School Program.
“I feel honored—mainly for my students,” said Runnels. “We provide a family atmosphere in the band and focus on building character before music. I’m proud of all of my students and thankful for the Austin High School community.
For more than 18 years, Austin High School marching band students have served as ambassadors of the arts by being mentors and positive representatives for their school and community.
“I am so incredibly proud,” said Cruz. “This work does not happen overnight.”
To close out the celebration, Cruz presented Runnels and the band a certificate of recognition for their many contributions made to Austin High School and the Houston community.
To learn more about the Sonic Boom marching band and how to get involved, visit their website here.