Open Letter To My High School Band Teachers

Open Letter To My High School Band Teachers

We loved you, hated you, but wouldn't be who we are today without you.
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Where do I begin? Moran and Lynn were two of the most influential men of my high school career. There are just so many wonderful memories dating back to summer band camp of 2009. Jeez, it seems like just yesterday I was cracking cymbals like it was going out of style. Has anyone broken the record of three in one week yet? I still feel really bad about that. I’d totally refund you guys if I could, except I don’t have that kind of money. So here’s my apology and thank you in the form of an online article -- I hope you thoroughly enjoy it!

To (cue Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) The Lynninator: What can I say? You were absolutely amazing. Sure, we all hated your yelling and screaming when no one was in a good mood on an excruciatingly hot summer day, but secretly everyone thoroughly enjoyed having you around. Being able to run laps with you and have the experience of playing on the field and in the stands with you will be some of the best memories from high school. However, nothing can top the cruise of junior year. I still remember when we got to the port in Baltimore and were standing in line, then you began asking everyone if we had our passports and I started feverishly looking around and you were facepalming the whole time. That’s the last time I bury it at the bottom of my book bag. Also, I still chuckle at your reaction when my book bag went through the scanner and the security kept moving it back and forth and pointing at the screen and you were just looking at me as if I placed a bomb in the bag...my bad. I think the icing on the cake, though, has got to be that group photo that we took before getting on the ship. Everyone giving the thumbs up was the greatest idea ever. I mean, just look at this glorious photo. You can't get much better than that! (sorry for the blurriness, blame Jaden for taking a photo of a photo).

In all seriousness, though, you were an incredible assistant band director, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better than you. You cared so much about the band and all of the members that were a part of what made the FHS marching band so thrilling and amazing. You always got us energized for games and your corny puns and jokes made everyone's day. I still miss hearing those jokes on a daily basis. At least you keep up with it on occasion on Facebook! Keep them coming!

As for Moran: I honestly don’t remember if we ever gave you a nickname. I asked Tori not too long ago, and she doesn’t even remember Lynn’s nickname. I am pretty sure we gave you one, but we are all just so used to saying Moran that whatever else was there never stuck. As with Lynn, there were so many memories with you that it’s hard to pick out a hand full of favorites. However, two do stick out in particular. Let’s go way back to Spring of 2010 in Florida when we were backstage with the Disney crew playing through a variety of songs from various movies. The first memory was when I had to play the triangle, Scott Tress was on the cymbals, and the rest of the drummers had other percussion parts. The instructor said he would waive me in, but I missed three times in a row until I finally got it and then Scott missed his part. We did it again and then the third person missed their part, and I just remember you glaring from the corner of the room because we were all so tired we couldn’t stop laughing at our mistakes. The best memory though comes from right after that when the band had to play Tarzan and then the instructor left the ending of animal noises to you and Lynn. I swear those noises that were made did not sound at all like animals but I give you props for trying. I think that particular moment is what really energized the band for the rest of the day. I just couldn't stop laughing and being tired only made me laugh even harder. I was going to add the link to it here, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere online. You’ve been spared the hilarious embarrassment that was that moment in time.

I do have to thank you for one particular moment in time though. That happens to be when you came to East Hills Middle School and auditioned all of us eighth graders to be a part of the incredible FHS Patriot marching band. I remember how incredibly nervous and unprepared I was. I lacked the knowledge and skill of all the other drummers, and I still remember going into the office and just falling apart through the whole audition. I remember going back into the band room knowing that I had blown it and I had no chance whatsoever to be a part of the high school band. Yet, you still accepted me and all of my ridiculousness, and that is something I will always thank you for from the bottom of my heart. Whether you did it to simply expand the size of the band or you did it because my older brother was already in the band, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you gave me the chance to be a part of something great during my four years of high school and I will forever have some absolutely wonderful memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

Now, putting aside all the wonderful memories and whatnot, you two were absolutely amazing instructors and teachers. You guided us all through the most difficult parts of You both were like a second group of parents to me and I believe a lot of other band members thought that too. We loved you a lot of times, couldn't stand you in others, but without you both we would all be very different individuals. You both were always there for us in our most exciting life moments and also in our most heartbreaking life moments. You both knew how to make everyone smile and laugh, but also taught us manners, patience, and how to be fit young adults in public settings. No matter how insane, socially awkward, timid, popular, outgoing, comical we all were, you still appreciated us for who we all were as a person and never judged us by how we acted. We all deeply thank you for that love and support. Plus, who can forget the amazing delivery of Tasty Kakes after every summer band camp? That’s true love right there.

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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The 7 Best Food Places Near UCLA You Need to Try ASAP

We have great dining food AND restaurants around us? Wow, we are #blessed.

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Westwood is the home to UCLA and offers plenty of interesting and diverse dining options for students and locals alike. Since the area is firmly Bruin territory, you will find lots of on-the-go, affordable eats along with a mix of more modern and upscale restaurants.

Though I definitely haven't had all the food Westwood occurs, being here two years now (omg already!?), I think I can safely recommend certain places to eat.

1. Shamshiri Grill

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South Westwood Boulevard is often referred to as Little Tehran, so most of that area is just Persian restaurants. Shamshiri Grill just makes the best meat and whenever I go there, I always order my meal with their special hot sauce, that is to DIE for. A must try.

2. Gushi

I can not tell you how many times I've been to this place. Located near Fat Sal's, you may be tempted to just miss it but let me tell you that is a mistake. I always get their Gushi Bowl which is just heavenly and the right amount to make me feel satisfied without being too filling. Be generous with the Teriyaki and Sriracha sauces on your meat and you are guaranteed to have a good time.

3. Pinches Tacos

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I know Mexican food is very common wherever you go but Pinches Tacos is aesthetically pleasing and their food? Even more so. It just tastes so good! I definitely recommend the Asada fries and any tacos.

4. Saffron and Rose

Saffron and Rose is a Persian ice cream parlor like 10 minutes away from Shamshiri Grill and the quality and variety of ice cream is truly impressive. I would not have known my weakness for Jasmine ice cream if I hadn't tried this place and as always, the Saffron and Rose (it's namesake) deserves to be the name of the restaurant because of how rich in flavor it is.

5. Maharaja

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I am very particular about my Indian food but the buffets in the afternoons at Maharaja definitely passes my checklist. I actually went there for my birthday so that just tells you how the food doesn't disappoint.

6. Nekter Juice Bar

I found out about this place very recently and I'm so glad I did because their bowls are so good. They also serve smoothies which I haven't had the pleasure to taste yet but I expect the same kind of quality. I am very partial to the Bruin Bowl and the Dragonfruit Bowl.

7. BJs

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They have $3 Pizookies on Tuesday.

I am always there on Tuesday.

Are these two facts connected? Maybe.

What can I say? I just love the restaurants here.

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