Friday Flashback: Marching band and the drama of deadlines

During my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, I had the opportunity to write a biweekly column entitled “Student Voices” for my hometown newspaper, the Rosemount Town Pages, an experience that deepened my awareness of my growing role in my community. There is no online record of this column, just a disorganized three-ring binder of newsprint clippings that I transport from apartment to apartment each time life takes me somewhere new. In the coming months, I will share a column each Friday as a way to preserve this period of my writing, and my self-discovery, on a digital platform.

The column below is almost painful for me to read. I have always loved to write, but as I read through some of my earliest “Student Voices” columns, I realize just how far my writing has come — all due to the guidance of one truly incredible educator. I had the fortune of learning from caring, dedicated teachers throughout my high school experience, but the two years I spent in Nancy Storm’s classroom forever changed me, instilling in me a love of critical discussion and helping me to refine my voice in so many ways. To put it simply, Ms. Storm changed the way I think. She’s the type of teacher every student deserves to have, because the impact she makes is so profound.


“Marching band and the drama of deadlines”

Date of Publication: October 15, 2004

Every other week, I sit down at my computer and wait for something brilliant to pop into my head. Something that will be enjoyable for the readers to read but still be quality writing. I work better under pressure, so I always end up procrastinating until the last minute to write my column.

From the moment my column is published, my mom begins nagging me about possible topics and urging me to schedule time for prewriting, writing several drafts, revising and editing (she is a teacher, after all). If I dare to admit that I have not yet thought of a topic, I will be lectured about the revision process and the importance of producing a high-quality final product.

Throughout my day, both at school and at home, I encounter an assortment of topics that strike me as interesting and worthwhile. Writing a column about one of these topics, however, proves to be more of a challenge. Does my column sound too informative? I ask myself. Is this of any interest to the readers? I can only hope that what my family and friends find appealing is as interesting to the general public.

Everyone must encounter obstacles, little challenges that may seem bothersome but often mold us into the people were are. For example, the simple challenge of finding clothes to wear to school could turn into a lesson about self-image. Not having my column written the night before it’s due teaches me not only about the consequences of procrastination, but also that I can write about anything if I find it necessary.

When I sat down at my computer to begin writing this column, my idea was the marching band. Since I was a child, it has bothered me that the media focuses so much the coverage of sports, but usually one page of the newspaper or one three-minute segment on the nightly news is devoted to an academic or arts story. As a columnist, I finally have the opportunity to write the types of stories I have always wanted to read. I know many athletes and I appreciate the hard work they put into practices and games, but students involved in other school activities also deserve media coverage and acknowledgment for their accomplishments.

This is one of the reasons I am proud to be a part of the Rosemount High School marching band this year. We have been recognized by several newspapers for our accomplishments in competitions this fall, and will hopefully do well at our first regional competition, the Mid-Iowa Band Championship, in Ankeny, Iowa, this weekend. Thanks to the Rosemount Town Pages and our new fans for your support this marching band season.

This column originally appeared in the Rosemount Town Pages on October 1, 2004.

Friday Flashback: “Setting goals is a good idea for everyone”

During my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school, I had the opportunity to write a biweekly column entitled “Student Voices” for my hometown newspaper, the Rosemount Town Pages, an experience that deepened my awareness of my growing role in my community. There is no online record of this column, just a disorganized three-ring binder of newsprint clippings that I transport from apartment to apartment each time life takes me somewhere new. In the coming months, I will share a column each Friday as a way to preserve this period of my writing, and my self-discovery, on a digital platform.

Almost nine years have passed since I wrote the post below, at a time when the first weeks of school meant hammering out goals for each class and organization and, in my case, obsessing over those goals for the next nine months of the school year. I was single-minded in achieving academic perfection, a pursuit that rewarded “coloring inside the lines” and playing by the rules. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I realized just how limiting that path had been. As I begin to set goals for my new role at Veridian Credit Union, I am thankful to have found a place that gives me the crayons and says, “Draw your own picture.”


“Setting goals is a good idea for everyone”

Date of Publication: September 17, 2004

On Sept. 11, the RHS marching band won first place at Champlin Park’s Rebel Classic competition and was awarded the prestigious title of Grand Champion of the event. As a member of the marching band, I was so proud and excited to have reached our goal at our first competition, but I also knew we still had work to do and would continue to improve.

As students get back to their school year schedules, athletic events begin or continue and activities begin to meet again, we will all be setting goals for ourselves. Some goals will concern what grades we want to earn or what type of involvement we will have in activities. Other goals we set will be with sports teams or academic teams. Still more may include making new friends or improving our study habits from the year before. Each of these goals is as important as the others.

Goals are what motivate students to do their best and to strive towards excellence. They give us motivation even when we have a bad school day or bad practice. Goals encourage us to place improvement among the highest of our priorities. It is so important to set goals — any successful student or athlete will tell you this.

In school, teachers, coaches and advisors do their job by teaching us skills we will use in the future and facts vital to our high school education. It is our job and our responsibility to set goals and apply the skills we learn in order to succeed using the tools our teaches, coaches and advisors give us.

Students, remember to always set goals, whether they concern academics, activities or sports. Setting goals, you are more likely to succeed in high school and beyond.

Have a successful school year 2004-05.

This column originally appeared in the Rosemount Town Pages on September 17, 2004.