MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. – The Muscle Shoals High School percussion ensemble won the gold medal at the Winter Guard International Championship in Dayton, Ohio.

The sixteen-person ensemble traveled over 400 miles to compete with similar groups across the country. This is the first time that Muscle Shoals High School has won the award in several years. Eli Colston, a senior student in the group, says that their group had a rough start to the year. However, they were eventually able to overcome adversity and work together.

“I’m really proud of the success they made. They made strides over the season,” Colston said. “We did it and finished strong, and I think that kind of sets the tone for our future.”

The event was also the final performance under band director David Waters, who officially retired after teaching for more than 26 years.

“I just can’t say enough,” Waters said. “I’ve been so blessed to be here my whole career. It’s the only place I’ve ever taught. It’s the only place I’ve ever wanted to teach. I didn’t want to go anywhere else, and it’s because of students like this and their parents and this community.”