Ceja Full of Pride for Music Career


Seniors Elijah MacDonald, Angie Ceja, Kylee Charles, and Michael Hannon pose in front of the trophies they won at a competition at Columbus High School

As my senior season is slowly coming to an end, I like to look back on fond memories I have been able to make in the past six years. Marching band has been a huge part of my life since my seventh grade year. As I got older, I realized all the great lessons and skills that marching band has taught me besides the technical things such as knowing how to play music.

7th Grade

As a seventh grader, I was very socially awkward. I never really tried to branch out from my friend group and believe it or not, I was kind of shy. I have never experienced or been a part of something that brought together so many different groups of people the way that band does. Joining the band as a seventh grader was nervewracking. I, along with some of my other classmates, was thrown into a group of older and more experienced students and expected to learn everything they have learned to perfection. I learned to pick up on skills fairly quickly my rookie years. In addition, I started to develop my people skills. When you’re in band, you basically have no choice but to talk with the other members as well as the staff. I was critiqued often and I learned how to take and grow from that criticism, which was mentally challenging at times. Being critiqued so much drove me as a person and motivated me to work harder. Being able to take on challenges head on and motivate myself to be better is something I still do.

8th and 9th Grade

During my eighth and ninth grade year, I was getting the hang of the whole “band thing” and became confident in what I was doing. As a band member, especially one in The Pride of Paoli, we are taught to always perform with pride. Everything I did, I did with pride and confidence — both inside and outside of band. I developed confidence in myself which is a trait I have always found important and I wouldn’t have had many of my most memorable experiences without it. During this time, I also started to realize the importance of working hard to accomplish a goal as a group. I was taught that the needs of the band outweigh the needs of the few which taught me not to be blinded by my own personal needs and wants when it comes to a situation much larger than myself. As a band member, you learn that for a huge goal to be accomplished by a group, each individual has to not only put forth the work, but be willing to compromise.

10th Grade

My sophomore year is when I started to portray the skills and qualities of a role model. I was considered one of the older band members at this point making me a role model for the younger members. Before then, I never really thought about how my own actions could possibly influence others. I quickly learned that my level of experience made me a leader out on the field, despite not being an upperclassmen. I took this seriously and worked harder than I usually did, knowing I was being watched and learned from by younger members. During my tenth grade year is also when I started to realize how quickly time goes. I took in every second and learned how to live in the moment.

11th Grade and Beyond

My junior and senior year is when I became an important leader of the band. This was the year I became drum major. I have learned so much about being a leader, especially in regards to responsibility. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s very true. I was able to apply the leading skills I had learned in my past years of band. I pushed myself harder to make sure I did everything I could to set a good example. I learned how to be tenacious, but in a good way. Never letting a bad day or rehearsal ruin my motivation is something I continue to do every day. As a leader I had to learn how to motivate others and push people to do their very best. Sometimes that involves getting to know someone personally to know what drives them. I also have to be accountable for my mistakes. Knowing you made a mistake and taking responsibility for it is something a leader has to do. Patience is also a key trait in leadership. As someone who gets the whole view of the band, quite literally, I have learned to trust the process and patiently see everything come together. Missing a whole season because of the pandemic taught me not to take things for granted and to enjoy what I have. This year, I really have appreciated what I’ve got, especially when it comes to band. As the season is coming to an end, I’m trying to take a step back and really appreciate the band. I have never been more proud to be a part of a program with such an amazing group of people. All of the skills I have developed throughout my years in band have shaped me into who I am today. Even through the long, hard, hot and freezing hours band has put me through, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Story by Angie Ceja