The Heap of the Year Award
The Heap of the Year award is a very unique award that we give out at the end of each year. We basically try to find the biggest piece of junk on wheels that is owned by one of our band families that can make it to and from the high school in the same day under its own power (no matter how many times it breaks down on the way there and back). Students applying for the Heap of the Year fill out an application in which they detail the damages and "interesting" experiences that they have had with the vehicle. The full band then votes on what they think is the biggest heap out of the contenders. The winner is given a bumper sticker showing them as the winner of the Heap of the Year as well as a wall plaque and a CD of Car Talk Car Tunes from the NPR radio show Car Talk. Runners-up receive a bumper sticker denoting them as a runner-up to the Heap of the Year.
This award started during my first year at RRHS (2000-2001). All year, the kids were having fun calling my little old 1985 Honda Civic 4-door wagon a heap of junk (mainly because it had a couple of breakdowns). In the spring, the jazz band played at a grocery store up in Parkland who had supported us with donations of food for our spaghetti dinner/swing dance that we did. Parents drove the kids up and I drove all the heavy equipment in my car. On the way back, my brakes failed to stop me from 25 mph (because of all the weight of the music stands, keyboard, amps, etc. that was in the car) and I ended up sliding under the back end of a BIG pickup truck in front of me. In the end, the car still ran (amazingly enough...the truck had no damage...my whole front end was smashed in and crumpled up), so I drove back down to RRHS where kids were waiting to help unload. They had a hey-day when I came around the back side of the school with the front end completely destroyed and took turns posing for pictures with their feet in the dent on the hood. In the end, they fished the hood ornament out of the remains of the radiator and we decided to immortalize my little car with this award. The centerpiece of the award plaque is the hood ornament that was fished out of the remains of the car.