School Spirit At Its Finest with the Palm Desert Charter Middle School (PDCMS) Color Guard

PDCMS has an outstanding reputation throughout the community for its outstanding academic success. But students are also recognized for their extracurricular activities including their color guard. The program is unique as a middle school opportunity and, like the school’s band, has won many awards…at the high school level.

Palm Desert Charter Middle School Color Guard

Palm Desert Charter Middle School (PDCMS) Color Guard

For those who do not know, color guard can be found in most American colleges, universities, high schools, and middle schools. They use many types of equipment such as flags, rifles, and sabers, along with dance, to enhance the music of the marching band show or a soundtrack during the winter season. Usually, marching bands and color guards perform during football games at halftime and competitions. During marching band competitions, the guard adds to the overall score of the band and is also judged in a category that is known as the auxiliary.

Color guards have evolved into more than just marching band attached units as they have invented Winter Guard, which is an indoor sport usually performed from the months of January-April, where the guard performs unaccompanied by the band, to a piece of pre-recorded music. Winter guards compete independently in such circuits as Winter Guard International (WGI) and West Coast Winter Guard (WCWG).

The PDCMS varsity color guard squad has won gold medals at championships since 2015; the junior varsity squad since 2018. This year’s performance includes music by Sara Bareilles titled The Yellow Brick Road for the varsity team and music by James Bay titled Incomplete for the JV team. Varsity has 21 members and JV has 26 members. The varsity show is about an individual’s road through life and the JV show is about finding ways to complete goals that we set for ourselves. The JV team practices once a week from 3:00-5:00 pm and varsity practices twice a week from 3:00-6:30 pm. The next show will be on January 29 at Ramona High School where you can see both PDCMS squads perform. It will also be shared on YouTube where you can find past performances.

Color guard is more than just the performance. The students learn about teamwork, commitment, dedication, and working hard for a goal. They also learn how to collaborate, be creative, and find ways to express themselves. They have a drive, they want to be good, and they just go for it without the fear of messing up during the performance. I am constantly impressed at how quickly the students improve, and he attributes this to their willingness to try new things with minimal hesitation. It also provides a space for the kids to feel like they can be themselves, which is incredibly important.

Color guard is supported by school administration and the Desert Sands Unified School District. The success of the program is due to the support of parents making certain that student performers have everything needed to compete.

Author’s Note: As a teacher, I love having the opportunity to pay forward everything learned from my instructors over the years. “I am so thankful for the educators who have taught me how to be a successful teacher, design a show, and most importantly, be there for students. Every educator I had was so welcoming to me and showed me how much they cared. I strive every day to do the same for my students.”


Original story by Jose Alejandro Peña, program director


Image Sources

  • image_6483441: Palm Desert Charter Middle School
  • PSCMS-Color-Guard-800×568-1: Palm Desert Charter Middle School