The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

The Student News Site of South El Monte High School

Eagles Nest

Season 1 Episode 1: Preparation


“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

— Bob Marley


Marching band competitions are the most important time of year for 11% of high school students. Through the band program, students learn how to work together, focus, stay committed, and how to play an instrument. It also helps students earn scholarships, travel, have new experiences, and figure out what they want to do with their lives. To find out just how important this season is we asked our very own South El Monte Mighty Eagles Marching Band what they’re feeling for this upcoming season.

As we interviewed members from the different departments of The South El Monte Band, such as drill, band, and color guard, we got to understand their mindsets. We learned what they think of as well as their coping mechanisms for stress and pressure. This opportunity also helped us gain an insight into their mind, allowing us to feel like we’re a part of the Band Family. The interviews also helped us see how meaningful the marching band is for a lot of people. We were able to view the different issues and mindsets of the different departments of the band. 

To start we interviewed the head of our band director David Morales. From the conversation, we understood that being a band director is more complicated and time-consuming than it seems. From uniform fittings to learning how to march, our band directors make sure all of that is taken care of. We wanted to know 

how he started being a band director in the first place. We found out that he had also had a fondness for music and had been great at teaching kids so when you put those two things together he got the idea to be a band director. When we asked him why a band director and not something else he said “Growing up I hadn’t ever really been important to someone besides my family so when I’m here, I’m important to someone. I get to help kids and teach them”. From that it is clear that this isn’t just a band program, it’s a family. As for his worries, he isn’t all that much worried in the sense of messing up since he isn’t out there performing. He’s worried about how the kids will do and overall how they’ll feel out there. He wants them to be confident within themselves. The much more difficult part is making sure his band is doing good with the songs they play, but it’s the marching that throws them off. Marching is a hard thing to do and takes time to learn how to do it, so it’s the biggest challenge by far. Overall, Mr. Morales feels comfortable with the season and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.

Interviewing a couple of people from the instrument department allowed us to understand the pressure that goes through their minds. As competitions might be bittersweet it allows them to to feel compelled by how it might be very exciting but also very nerve-racking. I asked a couple of band kids from different sections how they cope with the fear and pressure of competition. As MelJum A. from the clarinet

 section stated, “I try to not think about the negative outcomes and focus on the positive.”  Likewise, Kimberly Rodriguez from Precaution states, “I don’t think this year will be as good as well as last year but in all honestly I just have to focus on myself, so I won’t mess up,” Thanks to all the amazing band members I was able to interview for their time and perspectives. 

The other person we interviewed is 2-year Drill member Ailani Rodriguez. The military Drill team is a group of girls who dance using sharp movements. They also involve some dance movements that include flexibility. When we interviewed her she told us she is very excited about the band season as it’s her second she feels much more comfortable competing in marching competitions. Her main concern is the size of the team this year. In the last few years the drill team has been about 16 people but this year it’s 25 girls deep. She said with this many girls this year there are more new people to teach, but the good thing is there are more returners that can help everyone come together at a time. As far as the marching competitions go, she’s excited 

A picture taken at the South El Monte homecoming game by Natalie Ramirez

but there are some nerves because the team spends a lot of time and dedication to making the routine perfect. Overall she is very excited and somewhat nervous about the upcoming marching season.

Color Guard’s interviews were also a great opportunity to see how their department works. As well as how their minds function during the pressure of competition. We also asked them how they deal with the pressure of competition and how they remember their long and difficult routines. I had the opportunity to interview the captain of the color guard, David R. “Although it is a lot of pressure it is fine as we are all a big family and can give each other tips to better ourselves” he states. I also had the chance to interview a rookie (1st year) and asked her how she felt about this. Zofia Mendoza said, “This is my first year in color guard, and I am very nervous for the comps, but it’s alright as I have a lot of help.” 

It was an honor to have the opportunity to interview different individuals from different departments and sections. Have a wonderful competition season and good luck! Go South El Monte Eagles Band!

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About the Contributors
Jennedy Herrera
Hi, my name is Jennedy and I am 15 years old and a sophomore at South El Monte High School. One thing I enjoy doing is reading books. I like reading books because it's relaxing and it's a lot of fun being able to read all kinds of stories. I also enjoy going on hikes with my family, it's a lot of fun because we get to mess around and sometimes go in the water. One of the best places I've visited is Utah. I loved going there because there was a lot of nature around and there was this big lake that I and my family spent the whole day at. Some of my favorite artists are Mitski, Laufey, Beabadoobee, and Clairo. I like them because I like their lyrics and the beat of the songs. I feel like they're relaxing. My favorite shows are Hearstopper and Criminal Minds. These shows are completely different, but I like them because they're interesting and always have a good storyline. Fun fact: I am one I am also one of the co-captains on this school's drill team. I enjoy being a captain and being on the team because I get to be with my friends and perform routines. Overall, I am very excited to do Journalism this year and become a better writer!
Juliette Castro Madero
Hello, my name is Juliette and I am a 14-year-old freshman. My favorite song is True Story, Snoop Dogg. Colorado is my favorite place to visit since the scenery there is very beautiful. I love animals and currently own a few. I enjoy spending time with my pets because they’re fun and playful and always make my day. My favorite show to watch is Shameless. I like watching Shameless because they always have crazy and interesting storylines. Some of my favorite artists are Dmb Gotti, Alicia Keys, Rucci, and 03 Greedo. Some hobbies of mine are doing my makeup and nails. I've been doing nails since the beginning of 2023 and hope it’ll take me somewhere someday. My favorite colors are pink, black, and gray. This is my first year trying out journalism and it has so far been a great class to have. I hope to have the opportunity to publish many articles for this school year. 
Valeria Torres
Hi, I am Val Torres, I'm a 15-year-old sophomore. My hobbies are makeup, writing, and color guard. I am co-captain of the color guard team in the South El Monte marching band. I love how makeup is a way to express yourself. But also writing. I am the youngest of 3 siblings, I have 2 older brothers, a mom, dad, and 10 pets (4 cats and 6 dogs). My favorite food is enchiladas. My favorite music is reggaeton, and my favorite movies are romance movies and sci-fi. I love to travel, my dream is to travel all around Latin America. My dream is to be happy in the future and live a life I'm proud of. “Live a life you won’t regret.” 

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