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Make The Effort

I learned a very valuable lesson during my time in marching band in high school.

Although most of my family is from little ol' Farmville, NC (where I currently reside), I was raised in Atlanta, Ga. When my aunt was diagnosed with diabetes years ago and as her health began to get progressively worse, my parents decided to move back to help look after her.

I selfishly kicked and screamed the entire way back here (well... in my mind). My whole world -- as a junior in high school -- was centered around my friends, step team and marching band. Marching band most importantly! It was the beginning of the year and I was moving to a new town (a small town of approximately 4,742 residents... talk about a culture shock), going to a new school and forced to make new friends (which didn't come easily back then). I decided when I got here that if the school had a marching band that I wouldn't join. No way! 

Like several other things in my life. I was wrong! My parents made me join. I rebelled with everything in me. At first I skipped practices, made up excuses to leave early and gave little to no effort whatsoever. It wasn't until I sat down and thought about who I was truly hurting... myself. I started shaping up my attitude towards being in a new place and started enjoying band.

The FCHS band became like my second family. I became dedicated to other auxiliary groups of the band and helped with winter groups, such as the Winterguard.

In the spring, I found out about Leadership auditions and decided that I'd go out for Drum Major. I made it through auditions and was selected as one of the Drum Majors for the following season. I was actually surprised because of the attitude that I demonstrated during the previous year, but I was so grateful. However, I wondered why I was chosen.

We had a successful season! We won top awards at our marching competitions and even went home with awards for Grand Champion and Highest Drum Major scores of the day.
During the spring, I asked my band director to write a letter of recommendation for me for one of the scholarships that I was applying for. I was never supposed to read it, but it was sealed in an envolope and this particular scholarship required that I fax my application. I had to open it, I could have taken the high road and never read the letter -- but I did (who wouldn't?). What I read changed my life forever.

The letter went into detail explaining how most letters of recommendation "sing the praises" of the potential recipient and how this letter was different. She went on to describe how she felt about me when she first met me (I never even knew she noticed... but obviously she did) and how over time I evolved into someone she grew to love, how I displayed a completely different level of maturity and commitment and how against her reservations she chose to appoint me Drum Major because she believed in my potential above everything that I showed initially

I was awe-struck. It brought tears to my eyes to know that someone believed in me enough to give me a chance and push me against my own limitations. Donna, I will forever be grateful to you for this! Thank you for the opportunity. It's something that I hold on to until this very day... and whenever I feel like being a slacker... I remember how you fought to make me push myself and I keep that same momentum to propel myself forward.
"People only take you seriously when you begin to take yourself seriously."
It's truly a lesson that everyone needs to learn. I'll always love you, Donna!

Until next time

Smiles + Happiness,
Bryant

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