Band hosts special ceremony for Dr. Clements

The music department held a special ceremony honoring the career of Band and Orchestra Director Buddy Clements before the Homecoming game Friday Oct. 7 in the band room.

In recognition of his departure and his achievements, Clements received an award for his many contributions to the community. Throughout his 33 years of working at Walnut High, he has worked to help students improve in band and orchestra, as well as taking them to competitions in schools all across the state. One of his alumni, Councilmember Andrew Rodriguez, presented the award to him — a commendation from the City of Walnut commending Clements for his accomplishments and wishing him a peaceful retirement.

“Dr. Clements has been such a monumental figure at Walnut High School,” Rodriguez said. “My life would be totally different without Dr. Clements, as he truly is a great man and he really cares about the students. It’s because of his passion that I felt more than honored to give him the award.”

Before the Homecoming game started, a few of Clements’ alumni played “The Star-Spangled Banner” for him under the direction of a few of the former drum majors from classes of 1987 to 2016. He then joined students in watching the marching band play songs that he taught them for the game.

“It was pretty sad, and everyone was kind of emotional,” trumpet player senior Andy Perez said. “But you could tell from the look on his face that [Clements] was happy. He seemed really pleased that we were able to do this for him and that all these people came back to the school to visit him for his last Homecoming game. I personally enjoyed it because I got to see a lot of my old friends who are alumni, and it felt special. And the award that he received from the Councilmember was very memorable as well.”

Many faculty members, alumni and current students attended the event. A few also put together a banner for Clements, thanking him for his dedication to the school. In addition, many of the seniors pinned flowers on their shirts to commemorate Clements’ retirement.

“This school has been a home,” Clements said. “For all these years, it has just been incredible. When I look back to last Friday, I still get choked up thinking about how many people attended the ceremony. I was really surprised to receive the reward, and I wasn’t expecting it at all. But it’s good to know that I was one of the many that made a difference in the lives of all those people, and that I was important to them. I was very humbled and very touched.”

By Ashley Liang, staff writer
Photo by Kevin Arifin