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Big (Marching) Shoes to Fill

Original photo courtesy of Bethany Diaz.

Original photo courtesy of Bethany Diaz.

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Graduation is almost upon us and that means that the class of 2018 has to begin to step up as the top dogs of the school. One of the biggest roles we need to fill is leadership. The NHS, Student Council, and other organizations leaders are moving on and we need to fill their shoes. I know that this pressure is on for the whole class, but I personally have noticed the most pressure among the members of marching band.

Our section leaders and Drum Majors were mostly seniors last year, and honestly, most of us juniors don’t know how to function without our seniors to guide us. I remember my freshman year and how much we all looked up to the seniors and how sad we were when they graduated. One of next year’s trumpet section leaders, Emma Lilly said, “It was really hard to see all those people leave, the people that you looked up to. They set the standard high, which makes it even more intimidating now being in that position. I just want the freshman to have as good of an experience beginning high school and marching band as I did.” Her sentiments are echoed by many of next year’s seniors; most juniors that I talked to feel immense pressure to be just like the seniors that we had our freshman year and to make the new freshman feel as welcome as they made us feel.

However, not just those in leadership positions are nervous about next year. Seniors are supposed to be the biggest and best role models in the band. They are supposed to teach the underclassmen how to act, how to march, play, and survive band. They are supposed to be the most positive people in the band, and if I’m being honest, most of the class of 2018 aren’t ready to be those people. We have always had someone to look up to, but now we will only have ourselves. We have to be able to hold ourselves to the highest standards and realize that we are the role models now; we can’t relax and let someone else be the bigger person. The future generations of the band will all be looking up to us now.

Then-sophomores Clare Wilmes, Emma Lilly, and Bethany Diaz with now-seniors, Zoe Hendricks and Samantha Holstine in 2015. Photo courtesy of Air Academy Band.

The best seniors are the ones who leave a lasting impression on the underclassmen. These people are the ones who make you feel included, are exceptional leaders, or make band a good time. Some of my favorite seniors from years past are Bobby Fricke, Anna Rose, Anthony Puleo, Austin Lowder, Sophie Braker, Ben Lilly, Hannah Tassler, Zoe Hendricks, Arushi Raval, and Nate Bennett. I am trying my hardest to follow in their footsteps and be one of the highest quality people that has ever marched in the Air Academy High School Marching Band.

Not all of the pressure comes from trying to be an outstanding senior for the underclassmen. Class of 2018, this coming season is our VERY LAST year in this band, this family we have created over the past 3 years is so strong but in just one year we will all be leaving. It hasn’t really dawned on me yet, but we are coming up on our last mini-band camp, last Tuesday sectional, last day of band camp, and eventually, our last time marching with the band. It is absolutely insane to think that our journey through band is 3/4 of the way done.

When I was a sophomore I remember one of the freshman saying, “I’ll be so sad when you graduate,” and I thought, “I’ve still got 3 more years, hold your horses.” Now, looking back, I realize that 3 years really wasn’t that much time, and my last show seems closer than ever. We feel the pressure to make our senior year as great as possible and the best season out of all of them that we have. It is terrifying to think that this is our last chance to accomplish all of our goals in band and high school. I hope that all of this years seniors had a great senior season. Seniors are such influential and important people to the band, and although they are physically not going to be there anymore, they are leaving behind a lasting legacy on the band. Class of 2017, we will miss you!

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1 Comment

One Response to “Big (Marching) Shoes to Fill”

  1. Jessica Cox on May 16th, 2017 12:01 pm

    You guys are a power house and will do amazing next year!

    [Reply]

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Big (Marching) Shoes to Fill