by Cassie Montgomery
This year’s homecoming was not only significant for the returning members of the school and crazy-spirited students; it was a very special day for the members of the Lassiter band, too. This year, 2018, marks the twenty-year anniversary of the first of two Grand National wins of the Lassiter Marching Band. The beloved and retired band director, Mr. Alfred Watkins, returned on Friday night to conduct this year’s band in playing the national anthem before the game. Alumni from the 1998 band came to see how far the band has come and to take a picture with the many trophies displaying the other achievements they earned that year. The ’98 band set a foundation for spirit, tradition, excellence, and pride that paved the way for the many bands to come throughout the years.
Mr. Watkins quoted Aristotle throughout the training and practices leading up to the championships:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Since that defining moment in the band’s history, the directors, staff, and students have been working hard to do the best they can to form this habit of excellence. The lessons and experiences learned from band shape who we are and the way we live going on in life after high school.
Such is true for one of Lassiter’s own teachers, band director Mrs. Kimberly Snyder. Mrs. Snyder was a senior in the 1998 championship band. For her, every day is homecoming. “I knew my freshman year, I was a part of something special. I had never worked so hard in my life, and 300 other students in the band were doing it too. The life lessons and work ethic that Mr. Watkins and Mrs. Samuels gave us on a daily basis is what molded me into who I am today.” She gets to see and experience up close the new waves of kids coming in and trying to continue the traditions and class that her band set for us. She gets to shape the future band in such a special way, because she experienced the greatness we too are trying to achieve.
Upon asking her how she thinks the band has evolved from when she was in school, she says “We have a very strong leadership team and senior class that resemble many past Lassiter bands. It makes me so proud to watch many of them come out of their comfort zone and give up so much time to help others be successful.” She, as well as the other directors, brought our band to greatness and paved the way to Pasadena, California. Mrs. Snyder and the rest of the band could not be more excited.
Every day, the band students and staff strive to follow the path of greatness and put forth their best selves. These members put their blood, sweat, and tears into working for a program that is bigger than the individual. In seeing the returning champions from 1998, I think today’s marchers were inspired in seeing what they have the potential to be: excellent. Things Mr. Watkin said to the ’98 band still rings true today: “Be the best version of yourself; there is no trademark on excellence,” meaning that excellence is something you have to work for, it is not given to you. With the groundwork from the ’98 champs, the current and future bands can work their way up to being the best they can be.