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High school marching band direct themselves after they’re left without a director

They had the option to chose another elective or figure out how to keep the band together, they chose the latter.

West Virginia band; Pocahontas High School; band director; band without director
Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

High school band directs themselves after teacher quit

Any parent of a marching band kid will tell you that they're a different breed of kids. From July through November, these kids put in hours of work daily in order to perfect their routines for halftime and competitions. They are often at school before the sun comes up and well after it goes down.

Marching band kids become family so when Pocahontas High School in West Virginia found itself without a band teacher, they decided they would figure out a way to keep their band together. The band originally had 38 members but when the band teacher left over the summer the kids were given a choice to find a new elective to replace band or find a way to make it work.

According to The Real WV, many of the kids did pick other electives but 10 kids decided to take their principal up on the offer to stick it out.


“It wasn’t an option to quit,” Hailey Fitzgerald tells The Real WV. “I’ve been in the band for seven years. I love it! It’s too important for too many reasons.”

The principal has been searching for a new band teacher since the first one left for a new school district but just couldn't find anyone. His search went well into August before coming up with alternative plans to offer the band.

“I said that we’d had zero applicants, and since we didn’t have an instructor, we’d have to get them into other classes,” Joseph Riley explains to the Washington Post.

According to the outlet, Riley told the kids if they chose to stay in the band, they would get full credit so the kids got to work finding two teachers, Casey Griffith and Jennifer Nail-Cook to be their advisors. The kids then had to decide on who would lead the Warriors band since there was no official band instructor so they nominated Hailey, who's twin is also in band. There was a pretty big hurdle the kids had to overcome, though. Yep, bigger than not having a band director.

Most of the kids left in band played drums but in order to be a proper band, they needed to bring more than the beat. They needed woodwinds, horns, drums and more but instead of being discouraged, they continued to push forward. The band now has a clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, a trumpet and three drummers.

“Several members switched instruments and some even learned brand new ones,” Hailey tells The Real WV. “We aren’t even big enough to fill a closet, but we have instruments and uniforms and we are a band.”

Unless you're in the band, it may be surprising to learn that you have to actually play certain songs during certain points in the game. You can't just play what you want whenever you feel like it, so the kids had to not only learn new instruments but adjust the music. They recently played their first home football game where they were met with supportive signs from their classmates.

“We were nervous about how it would go, but people really stood up for us,” trumpet player Kaidence Cutlip tells the Washington Post. “Everyone made signs for us in support of the band, and that gave us a lot of confidence. We all felt like, ‘We’ve got this.’”

The band plans to play at all home games and go to ratings, which every band in West Virginia is required to attend to be rated on performance. While the band continues to take notes from The Little Engine That Could, the school is still looking for a band director.

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If you're on a quest for wellness, you've likely heard about the latest buzzword in hydration: hydrogen water. It's not just a trend among health enthusiasts; this cutting-edge concept is gaining traction for its remarkable health benefits.

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Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

How do you stand in the shower?

Lifestyle influencer Alexandra Lee, 29, was shocked to learn that she and her mother have opposite showering stances and it kicked off an important debate on the platform: what’s the correct way to stand in the shower?

It all started when Lee decided to renovate her bathroom and wasn’t sure where to put the bench in the shower, so she asked her mom for her advice. “When I shower, the shower head is behind me, so the water is like on my hair and down my back. Of course, I'll turn around occasionally and move around,” Lee said in her video before noting that her mother stands in the opposite direction.

“But she showers primarily facing the shower head, so the water hits her in the face and down her body,” Lee continued. “She’s shocked that I do the opposite and I'm shocked that she does the opposite. I feel like the normal way to shower is with the shower right behind you and you're facing that way.”

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A couple shares why they decided to leave the United States.

Although it is difficult to tell if there is a trend of Americans moving out of the country, rough estimates show that around 8 million currently live in other countries—double the 4.1 million living abroad in 1999.

The most popular countries for Americans to move to are Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom, in that order.

A big reason why some are leaving the U.S. is that an increasing number of employers allow people to work abroad. Others are choosing to leave because of cost of living increases and “golden visa” programs. Golden visas offer the chance to get a foreign residency permit by purchasing a house or making a significant investment or donation.

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Family

A letter to my mother-in-law who spoiled my sons

"It's pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity."

Tina Platamura


You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.

Tina Platamura

A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.

I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn't spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats" by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.

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@jaii.bee/TikTok

Practical gifts are just as valuable as novelty ones.

Practical gifts for Christmas are underrated. There, I said it.

Sure, it’s great to receive fun clothes and knickknacks and whatnot, but have you ever felt the pure bliss of unwrapping something truly useful? Something that you might have even kept hovering in the amazon cart forever, but could never find a proper excuse to pull the trigger? That’s an emotional combination of excitement, relief and yes, joy, that simply can’t be beat.

And yet, many gift givers still feel the pressure to buy super sentimental or clever—not to mention expensive—items during the holidays, even when the recipient has asked otherwise.

While the intention is surely to show their loved one how much they mean to them, proceeding to choose indulgence over senseability could be a form of disrespect, and lose sight on what the meaning behind gift giving is in the first place.

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This is YouTuber and makeup guru Manny Gutierrez.

Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for People.

He's taking the beauty world by storm, one tweet at a time.

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