Countdown- 2 (the senior one).

TWO DAYS YO

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It’s Monday. On Wednesday, I’ll be 18. Yippee! (Right?) 

Yes, yes, I know in reality turning 18 *isn’t* such a big deal. A bunch of people have done it without some big fuss- and I feel like that’s why I’m blogging about it. I want it to be a big deal for me, so it’s something to do- something to remember. Over here in what my friend calls “the cave”, turning 18 isn’t some big milestone. You get to drink distilled alcohol and pay your own insurance (among other things). Side note: No wonder you are able to drink distilled alcohol, I might need it having to deal with all of this. Pass me the rum. Or something.countdown-0-3

So- senior year. What was senior year like?

Three words: “Stress“, “Music“, and “Senioritis“.

Stress because, well… High school. Music because dude, music became my life. I played in the Honors Band, Stambaugh Youth Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, a quintet, Tuba Christmas, my High School’s Wind Ensemble,  did a solo for a competition,  and participated in a Festival of Bands. I was also accepted into the School of Music at one of the leading music schools in the USA (whose admission I deferred, along with CU Boulder and another) and I received the Director’s Award at my Senior Spring Concert. Outside of everything I participated in, I loved going to local concerts. I was a regular at the W.D. Packard Band concerts, and I would occasionally attend community band concerts. My friend and I lived in the band room all school year. The office became our locker, our cafeteria (even though food or drinks weren’t allowed in the band room- district rules), and our place for hanging out. I’d often skip lunch to practice or re-organize things. We’d often pick what we played in class- and often were hated for it. My friend picked out a beautiful arrangement- To Tame The Perilous Skies– and no one could play it. We’d pick out our favorite pieces and bribe our director to play them. I got my Holst pieces, he got his Carnival of Venice solo. Lastly, “senioritis“. Likely, anyone tseniorhat is a high school senior or has been a high school senior can attest to this one. Senioritis is accurately described by this definition from Urban Dictionary, except for perhaps the clothing thanks to the dress code (and absences for me… I couldn’t afford to miss my AP classes).countdown-0-4

What else did I do my Senior year? Oh man, so much. I was the robotics team captain for the second (or third…ish?) year. I was a member of two new clubs at my school- the Speech and Debate team, and coding club. I did Congressional Debate, and I loved it. I wish I could’ve had more time to do it. I did the Bridge Building Competition, the Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador Board (which was absolutely amazing and I’d highly recommend to any High School Junior/Senior in Ohio), I was a thrower in Track and Field, throwing Shotput and Discus. That one was new for me, as I had traditionally been a distance runner in track. I was a volunteer at the local Vacation Bible School as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes group leader. And of course, I was a member of Civil Air Patrol.

All within Civil Air Patrol, I was a Flight Commander and Cadet Commander at my squadron, Bravo Flight Sergeant (and Honor Flight Sergeant) at the 2015 OHWG Encampment, Team Co-Captain at the 2015 Cyber Defense Training Academy, Ohio Wing Conference Cadet Staff, and Cadet Advisory Council Group Primary Representative. I was awarded the Billy Mitchell Award, Squadron Cadet Officer of the Year, OHWG Cadet Officer of the Year, 910th Airlift Wing Armed Forces Day Awardee, and Commander’s Commendation. Upon graduating, I have been the 2016 D-Day Ohio Cadet Commander, Alpha Flight Commander (and Honor Flight Commander) at the 2016 OHWG Encampment, Cyber Defense Training Academy 2016 Staff and a student in the Advanced Course, and I have received the Amelia Earhart Award for promoting to Cadet Captain. I have flown a Cessna and a glider, and have been a member of my squadron’s CyberPatriot team. 

Senior year was pretty amazing. I do miss a few teachers, and I miss the familiarity of knowing what would happen every day (as I had forecasted in the yearbook) , but I absolutely don’t miss High School as a whole. I’m so glad I graduated.

Hang in there, y’all. 

-E. ♥

Countdown- 3.

3 days, guys!

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Boulder, Colorado.

Before starting this post, I changed the picture at least 4 times. I didn’t know what year to blog about. Tomorrow is senior pictures, and Tuesday is baby pictures (which, that is already done and scheduled to post at noon, EST). I started typing about Junior year, but then I realized I’d already blogged about junior year. I  blankly stared at the screen, and then my lock screen came on. “I got it!” I thought to myself.

12-15 October 2014, my mom and I took a trip to Boulder, Colorado. cu-buffsWe went with the goal of visiting my dream college- CU Boulder.  We visited the campus, and I fell more and more in love with the college by the hour. The food was amazing, both on and off campus. I’d absolutely recommend Half-Fast Subs to anyone looking to eat in Boulder.

I mainly visited the Engineering building and technology parts on campus, but I’m extremely glad we stopped in to see the Marching Band as well. I was able to talk with multiple students as well as someone I believe was the assistant director. The music program there is absolutely fantastic.

Aside from visiting the CU Boulder campus, I also visited a Civil Air Patrol squadron; the Vance-Brand Composite Squadron based out of Longmont, Colorado. At the time I was a C/SSgt, and I didn’t notice many cadets that were higher ranked than me. It was a nice squadron, and I even met a friend I still occasionally talk to. He always jokingly said I’d never outrank him, but *in CAP*– I do now. He’s in the Army now, which (quite obviously) still outranks me.

So yeah, Colorado was pretty friggin’ awesome. Although… someone should really notify the Rocky Mountains that they’re all uphill… that’s really non user-friendly (har har). I’d love to go back one day- and yes, I did get accepted to CU Boulder.

Keep climbing!

-E. 

Also, yes. I am aware that “Countdown- 4” does not exist. It, like “Countdown-9” will never exist.

Countdown- 6.

6 days until I’m 18. That’s less than a week!

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2014. The year we lost Robin Williams and Maya Angelou, Shirley Temple and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Two Malaysian airplanes fell out of the sky. Ebola threatened to kill everyone. Justin Bieber was arrested and Flappy Bird was taken from the app store. Russia hacked the White House and North Korea hacked Sony over “The Interview”.

2014. The year I joined Civil Air Patrol. The end of Sophomore and beginning of Junior year. I was actively involved in the Engineering Tech Prep program through Project Lead The Way. When I grew up, I knew I wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer. My heart was set. I was a part of starting the robotics team at my school, and quickly became the team captain. Robotics was such a huge part of my life12079122_964691903572036_9002646432340228083_n. I loved engineering, computers, planes, anything to do with technology. Looking back, I honestly don’t know why I didn’t join the chess club.

Who was I in 2014? I was shy and awkward. I wore my favorite black combat boots everywhere until they eventually fell apart. Seriously, I colored them in with nail polish once because part of the leather got damaged. I was way too attached to those boots. My pants of choice were skinny jeans, and tight shirts were my forte. I wore very little makeup and loved dying my hair; it had been auburn and pink and blue. Later on in the year, I developed a liking for ties and baseball hats.

I loved writing, especially poetry. I started writing a novel, but never really finished it. Every now and then I think about going back to it. I should really find motivation to continue. I loved music, especially marching band. My trumpet playing skills had increased greatly since being third chair in middle school, and I was getting 1 ratings in solo and ensemble competitions as well as being a member of a local youth concert band and playing taps for my high school. I was a member of Drama Club, having taken part in plays and musicals like “West Side Story”, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”, “Wizard of Oz”, “A Christmas Carol”, and “The Trial of Ebeneezer Scrooge”. We took a trip to see “Wicked” live, and it was one of my favorite things.

I went to the Sadie’s dance with my best friend at the time, and we ditched after drinking hot chocolate. I watched a lot of NASAtv, and I especially remember the Soyuz 41 launch. Astronaut Samantha Christaforetti from Italy had a Olaf stuffed animal on board, and it was the coolest thing. Our CyberPatriot team got first in the state. I met USAF Major Caroline Jensen, at the time she was Thunderbird 3. I saw Family Force Five live. I got to pie my English teacher in the face. The only thing I remember about Junior Hoco is going to Dunkin Donuts after. I got to fly a flight simulator and a couple of planes, as well as attending my Civil Air Patrol Basic Encampment at Wright Patterson AFB.

So, all in all, 2014 was a fun year. It was pretty busy, too. But, I couldn’t have asked for anything any other way. Everything going the way it did got me through some major changes. People I’d met through my Engineering program turned into some of my best friends that year. Civil Air Patrol taught me who I was and who I wanted to become. Other cadets I met started to feel like family.

2014. Though I did so much, it was still an incredibly hard year for me. I was dealing with so many things, things no one should ever have to go through. But, because of my friends and family, and all of the things I did that year- I got through it. Not only surviving, but smiling as well.

Dum spiro spero.*

-E.

*While I breathe, I hope. Also a beautiful arrangement for wind band by Chris Pilsner. I had the amazing opportunity to perform this piece and many others with the Stambaugh Youth Concert Band.

Graduation and the Future

A cat in a cage becomes a lion” ~Indian Proverb

I guess you could say I was a cat in a cage. Constantly being told what to do, what to wear, how to act, and forced to do things like ask to go to the bathroom. The days of school lunches, waking up early, and annoying human beings pretending High School is everything are behind me. I was in that cage for far too long, but this past year I realized who I am. I realized my passion for music, and teaching music. I realized that no matter what people say, I will follow my dreams. I am going to college to major in Music Education, and minor in Special Education. Now, it may not make the most money according to some people- but I will be happy. And I will be the source of happiness for others.

Without music… without band in my life, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am. All the time spent in the band room, talking to my director while being an emotional wreck.. all the times spent cramming in hours of practice that don’t exist in a day for Solo and Ensemble competitions… The friendships I’ve made… The memories I’ve made… I realized- this year, I became a lion. I wasn’t the cat in the cage anymore. I wasn’t going through the motions anymore. I was happy. I stood in front of sixth graders and conducted a song for them in class- something I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do even a year ago. I was a member of multiple performing groups, including the local Honors Band and a quintet. I’ve performed Taps at least 5 times… Probably more. I was the echo for another phenomenal trumpet player, who is also going into music education. I learned to play every other brass instrument, and am starting to learn flute, clarinet, and ukulele this summer now that I will have more time. I played along with multiple other grade levels of bands in our school system- on various instruments.I got a card at the Senior Band Picnic from a freshman trumpet player I befriended. I swore I wouldn’t cry about being a senior… I wouldn’t be THAT person. But her card made me cry. She thanked me for helping her get to the level she’s at. It was the first thank you I’d gotten… and it hit me hard. My favorite 13324269_1112002138841011_1442581514_oband memory that I used at the picnic when asked by the Band President was being able to share the love of music, and help people. I realized right then and there I made the right choice. My boyfriend is into music education as well, and I can’t wait. Both of us constantly working on some variation of music? I can’t wait.

So, graduating was nice. I’m  ready to move on in life. No longer a timid cat, but a lion- ready for anything.

-E.