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  • Diana

What's your passion?

What do you think of when you recall your high school career?

I think of band trips and performances. The best days of high school were spent in the band room with my friends and sharing the same love for music.

If you weren't aware, my mom was my band director! Don't let that fool you, I think she was harder on me, which was probably a good thing. She never wanted anyone to think she was playing favorites, even with her own daughter.

When I think back to band, I remember traveling to Maryland and Boston. They are the most vivid memories from high school because nothing compared to spending a weekend with your friends and maybe missing a day of school. ;)

Although we attended elegant dinners, watched a Red Sox game and even went midnight bowling, we took our job as musicians seriously. My high school band is one of the best in the country. My mom's dedication to her job and students is admirable. Her high standards made us great.

I remember competing on these trips and we all expected critiques from the judges. But, to our surprise, the judges would applaud us for our skill level. Even though we walked away from the experience with high accolades, we never made it apparent.

We were humble. Students gravitated to the band room and I think that is because it was a welcoming and safe place. My mom taught every student the importance of family, celebrating everyone's success, staying humble and continuing to find motivation to be the best you can be. And I think that is what made us stand out even more at competitions. We were proud but never boasted about our success. We were professional and it showed. It is hard not to carry that same mindset today.

Ask anyone who was in the band program what my mom told them on the first day of band and they will say, "what is your passion?" My mom always told everyone to be great at your passion, whatever it may be. I always give 102% because of that lesson.

I think back to my high school graduation and I remember the principal saying, "once a cadet, always a cadet." I think that holds true to the bond we created as friends and as a band.

Just like band, the Miss America Organization prides itself on the sisterhood. My days in band taught me how to be respectful, find my passion and work hard. These are things that I carry with me and pride myself on as a titleholder.

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