Stranger's donation kicks off fund drive for Daybreak Middle School band

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Battle Ground -- Daybreak Middle School music teacher and band director George Izzett had no idea why someone named Bruce Florsheim of Mercer Island, Wash., was writing him. But when he opened the envelope last week he found a clipping of a recent story from The Mercer Island Reporter newspaper, plus a note from Florsheim and a check for $350.

photoDaybreak Middle School Band at the 2011 Portland Junior Rose Parade wearing the "new" uniforms that had just been purchased from Mercer Island High School and still carried the old insignias.

The note said: “Your band looks great. Here’s a contribution for your uniform fund. Use it to help pay Mercer Island (High School) or to add patches or new lettering . . . All the best! Bruce Florsheim”

The newspaper story reported that the Mercer Island High School band had new uniforms and sold its old ones to Daybreak Middle School in Battle Ground, which opened in 2007. Daybreak’s band “uniforms” had consisted of the students’ own T-shirts and dark pants.

Izzett says the price for the Mercer Island uniforms was ridiculously low: 150 uniforms with hats for $1,400. Today, a single complete new uniform would cost at least $350, Izzett says. The Daybreak Band Boosters have raised $700 of the $1,400 so far.

But, there’s still the matter of the white overlays with “Mercer Island” on the back.

The uniforms arrived just a few days before the band’s appearance in the Portland Junior Rose Parade last June, in which Daybreak won first place among bands with 99 or fewer members.

photoGeorge Izzett, Daybreak Middle School music teacher and band director, center, with students Jessie Wiseman, left, and Briana Robbins wearing the band uniforms the middle school bought from Mercer Island High School.

New overlays would be about $90 each, but patches with the Daybreak identification for the back would be just $30 for each overlay, so that’s what they’re buying.

The plan is to leave the M I on the front because it also can be read as “I M” and band members will chant, “I am Daybreak.”

The unsolicited check from Florsheim amounted to an unplanned kick-off to the fund drive for the patches. The initial goal, Izzett said, is $2,400 to buy 80.

Donations may be made out to “Daybreak Band Boosters” and sent to George Izzett, Daybreak Middle School, PO Box 200, Battle Ground, WA 98604.