Wednesday night's Fulton School Board meeting started with Callaway Circuit Judge Bob Sterner thanking board members for doing a job he said is often taken for granted.
Missouri School Board Recognition Week is Jan. 26-Feb. 1, and Sterner was present to honor Fulton's board members in advance.
"You have to be pretty doggone strong to be a school board member," Sterner said before presenting them with certificates of recognition from the Missouri School Boards Association. "...You're liable to catch an earful because we all feel you're obligated to listen ... and you have to be strong enough to consider that and make decisions in the best interests of our students."
Sterner concluded by telling board members, "you are the ones who have been chosen to be caretakers of the community's children, and therefore the future of the community. I will be proud to shake your hands."
Also receiving recognition at Thursday's meeting were students achieving district and state honors in volleyball, choir and band - which led nicely into a presentation by band director Kelly Neudecker, who gave an update on the band program.
Neudecker shared some of the highlights for the band over the past year - including a record four students being selected for state band honors last year, and five achieving district honors this year.
She said participation in the program is continuing to grow - particularly at the middle school level.
The middle school has 68 sixth grade band students this year, 50 seventh graders - up from 25 last year - and 26 eighth graders. The high school band program has 58 students. Neudecker predicted a turnout of 78-80 students for the high school band for the 2014-15 school year.
"I hop to reach more kids every year," she said. "Fulton has a strong band tradition, and as an alum and now a teacher, I am proud to be part of that tradition."
With the increased interest in the band program, Neudecker said now would be a good time to replace the high school marching band uniforms. The existing uniforms are 12 years old, and the average lifespan of a uniform typically is eight years.
"The hems are worn out and we have a difficult time fitting the students. They're also very dark in color," Neudecker said. "Part of scoring (at competitions) is visual effect, and uniforms play a role in that."
She also pointed out that "new uniforms would be huge in renewing the kids' sense of pride."
Neudecker told the board the average cost for a new uniform is $500.