At the Holly Pond Band Banquet last Friday evening, Curtis proudly displayed the photo collage presented by his seniors. (W.C. Mann for The Tribune)
HOLLY POND – When Evan Curtis arrived at Holly Pond last year, he was stepping into the place of Luette Benefield, who had directed the school’s music program for 25 years. After celebrating the conclusion of his first year at the HP band banquet Friday he took a few moments over the weekend to reflect on the experience.
What was your first impression of Cullman County Schools and Holly Pond?
“Coming into Cullman County Schools, the only impression I had was one as a student. I feel like Cullman County has a rich tradition of pride, academics and family. Coming in as a teacher, I felt more empowered to take on the mantle that my teachers gave me as a Cullman County student and carry that forward.”
What was the biggest challenge of your first year teaching? Lots of people said last year that Ms. Benefield's shoes would be big ones to fill. Was that an issue for you?
“I tried not to compare myself or the band to previous editions of the Holly Pond band. This was easier for me, because I had not seen the band here in close to 10 years. I was just focused on having the best product we could have and maxing out our potential. I don’t think there was one day we weren’t practicing. I think the biggest challenge was dealing with the firsts: first ballgame, first parade, first competition, etc. You can rehearse all day and know how to perform your music and show, but logistically you can’t prepare for those events until you’ve experienced them.”
What was the biggest joy or triumph of your first year?
“We had great success throughout the year, which was great. I think the biggest joy for me as a teacher is when we got to showcase for the parents and community at the Spring Concert/Banquet. It was the best performance of the year for the kids, which is what you want to happen at the end of the year. But to have that moment and compare it to where we started was huge. They have worked very hard this year and come a very long way.”
What should we look forward to seeing in year two?
“I think we’re going to see a more confident group next year. I think we shook things up a bit last year, but we are easing into the groove. I think you’re going to see a much more resolute Holly Pond Band.”
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