Bloomington students, district still feel impact of Harvey

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Nov. 13, 2017 at 9:45 p.m.

Tiffany Espitia, 16, left, gets instruction from Shayla Mesa, 16, on playing  the flute at Bloomington High School during band class.

Tiffany Espitia, 16, left, gets instruction from Shayla Mesa, 16, on playing the flute at Bloomington High School during band class.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

BLOOMINGTON - As winter sets in, Brittany Rivera is trying to create a warm place for her Bloomington High School color guard team.

"The small band hall had six classes put in there, which meant band had to practice outside," said Rivera, volunteer color guard director. "If it rained, that meant short practice for them."

Rivera set up a GoFundMe page Oct. 20 to raise funds for upgrades to the school's band hall, including cubby areas and storage for band and color guard members' equipment.

After the hurricane, the band and color guard had to adjust and become flexible with their practice spaces, she said. The school's gym, which had been used for practice, was closed for hurricane repairs.

When bad weather approaches, the color guard has to practice in the band hall.

"The band hall doesn't have a high ceiling," she said. "They have to get on their knees to practice basic tosses."

This is the first year the color guard has had a director to teach them technique and skills, said Rivera.

Rivera hopes to create a Winter Guard team as the season changes, but she said the colder weather will make outside practice and finding an indoor practice space difficult.

"The uniform room is starting to fall apart," Rivera said. "The band has no proper storage for equipment, and color guard items are just put in a corner somewhere or wherever there is an open spot."

The minimal equipment available for color guard use creates a limit on the number of members who can join, she said.

The size of the band and color guard team has increased, she said. There are currently 30 band members and five color guard members.

Many band members have expressed interest in joining the color guard, Rivera said.

She created the GoFundMe page because much of the equipment, including instrument cleaning supplies, equipment and flags, is funded from the staff's pockets, Rivera said.

"Anything will help so these amazing, talented and outgoing students can get the band hall they have worked so hard for," she said.

Funds in the district are low, so the band is doing what it must, said band director Robert Coats.

"We are living out of a trailer," Coats said about the adjustments made after Harvey.

The band hall, field house and transportation barn were the only three buildings in the district untouched by the hurricane, he said.

Several chunks of temporary carpet were added to the band hall to act as dividers in the makeshift classroom space, he said. Plans to replace the carpet are scheduled for Christmas break.

Although the band got its space in the band hall back, content mastery and in-school suspension classes are still conducted in the hall's backrooms, he said.

Modular buildings were set up as temporary classroom and offices in the band's practice parking lot, so students are bused to the Bloomington Elementary School stadium for practice, Coats said.

Going into concert season, the band will continue to be without a space because the auditorium is closed for hurricane repairs, he said.

The Christmas concert's venue is planned to change to the elementary school's dome, he said.

Rivera's efforts are commendable, and the donations will go a long way, Coats said.

"We are here to help teenagers learn to do more than they think they can do," he said.

Related coverage

Day 1: Here comes Harvey

Day 2: Brace yourself

Day 3: 'Prayers protect us'

Day 4: 'We thought we were going to die'

Day 5: 'At least God let us live'

Day 6: 'It's the luck of the draw'

Day 7: 'Everybody will pull together'

Day 8: Guadalupe floods parts of Victoria

Day 9: Texas Zoo evacuates animals (w/video)

Day 10: The Long Road Ahead (w/video)

Day 11: Residents rely on families to rebuild

Day 12: For some, normal still far away

Day 13: Church offers refuge for devastated town

Day 14: Victims find hardship, opportunity (w/video)

Day 15: FEMA frustrates Harvey victims

Day 16: Displaced and in disarray

Day 17: Disaster for humans means catastrophe for pets

Day 18: Nature interrupted (w/video)

Day 19: 'It was like we had been bombed'

Day 20: Students returning to school feel weight of Harvey

Day 21: International Crane Foundation loses office after hurricane

Day 22: Ranching structures, cotton mostly damaged by Harvey

Day 23: Port Lavaca struggles back after Harvey

Day 24: Refugio: 'We're trying to get back to normal'

Day 25: Nonprofit leaves people lost after Harvey

Day 26: 'We are human beings like everyone else'

Day 27: Refugio schools find way to reopen

Day 28: Bloomington schools begin year in different classroom setups

Day 29: Methodist church serves those in need after hurricane

Day 30: Scientists measure damage to endangered species' habitat (w/video)

Day 31: Medical community feels impact of Harvey

Day 32: Harvey's speed leaves many in harm's way

Day 33: After Harvey, Seadrift couple forced out of home

Day 34: Bloomington Elementary School educates students in FEMA dome

Day 35: School districts share issues with state, US senator

Day 36: VISD students observe See You at the Pole

Day 37: Expectant family struggles after Harvey (w/video)

Day 38: Woodsboro pulls together after Harvey

Day 39: Housing options slim for displaced families

Day 40: SBA approves more than $500M in disaster loans

Day 41: Hunger greater in Crossroads post-Harvey

Day 42: 'Harvey broke me'

Day 44: Goliad baby born as hurricane swirled toward Crossroads

Day 45: Mother recalls 'scary' birth during Harvey

Day 46: Harvey devastates homeowners without insurance

Day 47: Officials have no details on housing relief

Day 48: Harvey impacts couple's 2 Victoria businesses, Rockport home

Day 49: Crews begin repair work on historic McFaddin church

Day 50: Hurricane, flood force Jaguars to make adjustments

Day 51: Texas Zoo thanks Vickers students for donation

Day 52: Seadrift women helping people affected by hurricane

Day 53: Mold creates big problem for homeowners

Day 54: Crossroads public agencies deal with FEMA challenges

Day 55: Special delivery

Day 56: Texas Gulf Coast mayors discuss Harvey aftermath

Day 57: Tenants sue after Harvey eviction

Day 58: Nonprofit directors face difficult fundraising decision after Harvey

Day 59: VISD applies for waivers to reduce Harvey burden

Day 60: Victoria's relief efforts lacked coordination, leadership

Day 61: Popular restaurant battles back from Harvey

Day 62: City looks to buy sprinkler controls for $160K

Day 63: Housing after Harvey (w/video)

Day 64: City looks to help with hefty water bills

Day 65: Men's shelter, soup kitchen closed because of Harvey

Day 66: Watt routes almost $1M to Crossroads' hungry

Day 67: Recovery group seeks members, community leaders

Day 68: Habitat volunteers help Harvey victims rebuild

Day 69: Lawmakers, counties to discuss Harvey response

Day 70: Oyster season opens after Harvey; new rules adopted

Day 71: Crossroads leaders talk storm damage to lawmakers

Day 72: Symphony to open concert season after Harvey delay

Day 73: Harvey recovery group works to measure unmet needs

Day 74: City considers ways to shore up water system

Day 75: County officials: Mobile homes need more oversight

Day 76: Recipient of state honor persists despite Harvey setbacks

Day 77: Heroes, lessons emerge in Harvey's wake

Day 78: Harvey, budget shortfalls challenge local leaders

Day 79: Salvation Army traditional holiday meal to continue

Day 80: City water had no bacteria despite Harvey outage

Day 81: Leaders still don't have Harvey recovery details

Day 82: Devereux officials remain hopeful despite hurricane damage

Helpful information

Where to get water, gas and other supplies

Helpful information after the storm

Updates on city services

Related coverage

Invista donates to Bloomington school district's hurricane recovery

Harvey erodes sanctuary but not volunteers' spirit (w/video)

Crews wrapping up debris pickup


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