What It Takes to Be: An IB Drum Major


Senior Holly Ekas defies the “you can only pick two” meme. She has good grades, a social life and sometimes gets around 6 hours a sleep at night.

Going on her second year of being a drum major, keeping her spot as salutatorian and being in IB, Ekas has a lot on her plate. In addition to that Ekas tries to do one social thing a week to destress. To accomplish having good grades, a social life, and decent sleep, one key thing she keeps in mind is to do everything right the first time.

“Freshman year there was a lot more lead-way for procrastination and do-it-okay-now-and-then-do-it-better-later. I did a lot of pushing things off until I went home to work on it,” Ekas said. “Junior and senior year I realized I don’t have time to go redo all of my assignments at home and goof off at school. I have to do them right at school.”

When Ekas gets home, she eats dinner then does “just straight up homework”.

“Right after rehearsal I help put up equipment and stuff, and that takes about 30 minutes,” Ekas said. “I go home, take a shower, eat, and that takes about 20 minutes together. Then we have an office space in my house and I just go in there and close the door and do homework. I try to get ahead on stuff but even when I’m getting ahead, it’s still a lot of work every night.”

Band takes up a majority of Ekas’s life, as well as IB. During marching band season, she cuts back on the clubs and only does Mu Alpha Theta and NHS, but during concert season Ekas participates in Green Paws, Mu Alpha Theta and NHS. As part of the IB Programme, Ekas must complete 50 hours of creavity, 50 hours of service, and 50 hours of action.

“Marching band just demands a lot of time, like strict time,” Ekas said. “Band counts as your creativity and action hours, [so] service is really what I needed; which is one of the reasons I was so involved with Green aws.  Also I volunteer at my church sometimes, and I teach clarinet lessons.”

Being a drum major helps Ekas to gain perspective and have more patience for people.

“I have to work with a lot of people in high stress environments,” Ekas said. “Do not attribute to malice, what could easily be attributed to stupidity. If somebody is doing something and you’re like, oh my gosh why are they such a jerk, think maybe they just don’t know what they’re doing. Maybe they don’t know it’s coming across this way. Not jumping to conclusions like that has really helped my professional leadership.”

Ekas hopes to be accepted to Colorado School of Mines, her top college choice. She plans to be a chemical enviromentalist.

“My fall back is UT, which is pretty darn good for a fall back,” Ekas said. “I just really don’t like Texas weather. Colorado School of Mines is really good for engineering, but it’s a really small private school so they don’t give a lot of financial aid. My reaching school is Stanford but their acceptance rate is 5% so I thought why not. My neighbor is a Stanford alumn and offered to pay my application fee.

“I’m thinking [I’ll be a] chemical enviromental. That’s the kind of stuff I wrote my extended IB essay on, pollution clean up and the chemical aspects of it. Maybe [I’ll] do clarinet as a hobby, move somewhere North. I like the cold. Just kind of wherever the wind takes me. I don’t have very concrete plans.”