Paschal Band raises money to honor student who drowned at pool party

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Parents and students who attended the Paschal ban booster club meeting Thursday night wore purple wristbands containing the phrase “We Play for Rick” printed in white.

Rick Sek, a Paschal sophomore, drowned Aug. 31 at the band’s end-of-summer pool party at the Lockheed-Martin Recreation Area. Plans were made for fundraisers to help Sek’s family with funeral costs.

Oakleigh Beard, Paschal Band president, said she and other students in the band wanted to help Sek’s family in any way they could. They decided to order purple wristbands adorned with the phrase “We Play for Rick” to sell to students.

The phrase is a play on words, Beard said — when the Paschal band dismisses from practice, or prepares to play a game, they chant, “Who do we play for? PHS!” After Sek’s death, the band decided to change the chant to commemorate the French horn player’s memory.

“From now on, we play for Rick,” Beard said.

All proceeds from the wristband fundraiser will go directly to the Sek family, Beard said.

Jackie Walker, Paschal band booster club president, said the booster club also activated its emergency fund in order to process donations collected through a separate fundraiser on the band’s website. Their goal was to raise $8,200 toward funeral costs. As of Thursday night they had received approximately $7,000.

The band planned to take further donations at Friday evening’s football game against Arlington Heights, Walker said. Two other local high schools also planned to collect donations for the Sek family during their games.

The band’s halftime show will be a tribute to Sek, Walker said. A moment of silence will take place, and the band will perform with an empty space in its formation in memory of Sek.

Beard said she fondly remembered Sek’s unique personality and sense of humor. The reserved 15-year-old loved to play Xbox and Beard recalled one instance when Sek lost a game of Minecraft to a friend and took the loss very seriously.

“He wouldn’t let it go for three months,” Beard said.

“Quiet” and “shy” were words people often used to describe Sek, but Beard said she never thought of him that way. His face often hidden behind his long hair, he enjoyed spending time and working with his friends from band, and thrived in the group setting, Beard said.

Joanne Fralia, band booster club secretary, said she thought the band and the friends Sek made there helped him come out of his shell. She remembered Sek’s mother talking about what the band had done for her son.

“She said it really helped him,” Fralia said. “It helped him find his niche in high school.”

Although this has been a difficult time for the band, Fralia said, the group has united to help one another through their grief. They look forward to upcoming events this semester, such as their annual March-A-Thon, she said.

“This has brought us all together,” Fralia said. “I think the students are really thinking what life is about, and how it can change.”

Donations can be made in three ways:

  • Through the booster club’s website.
  • By mail. Send checks to We Play for Rick, Paschal High School, 3001 Forest Park Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 7611
  • In-person donations can be left in an envelope at the Paschal High School office at 3001 Forest Park or at the band hall.

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