BFFs breaking the ‘rules:’ Cross-county friendship defies historical rivalry

Holly Pond High School senior August Floyd, left, and Fairview High School senior Morgan Haynes, right, became fast friends last year. Both are drum majors and fair queen representatives for their respective schools. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – In today’s world of social media bickering and political divisiveness, many could learn a lesson from two amazing young women from Cullman County. The pair could easily be bitter rivals, but instead, they are best friends and each other’s biggest supporters. Fairview High School senior Morgan Haynes and Holly Pond High School senior August Floyd are competitors in many things, but they rise above and embrace their commonalities.

The girls met in the spring of 2018 on a trip with what was called the Cullman County “Super Band.” Fairview, Holly Pond, Vinemont and Good Hope marching bands performed as one unified band on the streets of Universal Studios and Haynes and Floyd became fast friends. The fun days in Orlando were the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Now Haynes and Floyd are seniors and their paths will cross more than they could have ever imagined. Each is the drum major for her school’s marching band and the Cullman County Fair Queen Representative for her school.

“We met at Universal and we stayed in touch,” said Haynes. “We follow each other on social media. We get to see each other sometimes. We’re both busy with different things and now we are both drum majors and fair queens and we have to prepare for the pageant and do different things for the band. It’s been kind of crazy trying to get with friends.”

“We are always busy! I’m always texting Morgan when it comes to drum major and stuff. For tryouts, I called her and was like, ‘You’re going to have to help me with a routine.’ We keep in touch a lot and we text a lot,” Floyd added.

Haynes and Floyd will have full calendars throughout September and October as marching band season will be in full swing and the Cullman County Fair approaches. The pageant is Oct. 8. When asked which role was the more daunting, the girls viewed their roles differently.

Haynes said, “Drum major because you are over an entire band. Fair queen, when you compete at the school level, you are representing yourself. When you go to compete at county, you are representing your school. With drum major, you always have to make sure you know who is where at what times and you have to keep up with seventh graders who are new to band, so they don’t know exactly what to do at what time. You have to make sure everybody’s doing what they are supposed to do. At least for right now, it’s been drum major, but I think leading up to the pageant, it might shift gears and become fair queen.”

For Floyd, fair queen is the more stressful role; she shared, “Before drum major, I was band captain, so being in a leadership position really isn’t new to me. I am used to having to take care of other people, keeping everybody in their place and making sure everyone is prepared. Being drum major really isn’t different from that, but fair queen is. I’m not used to the pageant life!”

While Haynes and Floyd have been in a couple of pageants, this will be the first pageant they’ve been in that requires a talent to be performed. Both girls have chosen to showcase their singing talents. Haynes will sing “For Good” from “Wicked,” and Floyd will sing “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman.”

Floyd, who is also a percussionist in the band, opted to not play drums as her talent, joking, “I thought about it, but that’s not very sophisticated.”

One thing both girls fully agree on is that this year’s band camp week was great. They were happy that the weather turned cool that week.

Haynes said of the Fairview show, “Our show is titled ‘One Giant Leap,’ and it’s songs from Apollo 11 and different songs about space. It’s for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. We have different props this year which is something we have never had. We have some different surprises with the color guard. They have some new props and it’s really fun. I’m very excited about it this year!”

As for the Holly Pond Broncos, Floyd explained, “Our show is titled ‘Emergency,’ and I’ve never seen anything like it before. We have songs like ‘Bad Medicine,’ ‘Stitches’ and ‘Hot Blooded.’ This year we have some new things that Holly Pond has never seen. We have a sound system, majorette and color guard features and maybe even some special effects in the majorette spectrum. Everybody has new uniforms and we are excited about that. The show’s going to be pretty good this year.”

The girls were excited to learn that another “Super Band” trip is in the works for their senior year. They will travel to Orlando again to perform together at either Universal or Disney World, but Floyd said she thinks it will be Disney. The bands are fundraising now for their spring trip.

Spare time is limited for both Haynes and Floyd, and despite attempts to make plans over the summer, school started before they were able to make that happen.

Floyd recalled, “The one time we did get to see each other this summer was for fair queen.”

“The night that August won, I had actually gone to Holly Pond and didn’t even know she was doing fair queen,” said Haynes. “I saw August and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, August is in the pageant!’ When she won, we got pictures together and everything and we were excited. Then, when I won, she called and was real excited for me. It’s really nice to have a supportive friend that really encourages you to do different things. I’m glad we have each other to lean on and support each other, especially during fair queen; it can be stressful.”

“I was calling her for tryouts I was like, ‘Morgan, I need some help with some cues! I don’t know what to do,’” Floyd laughed about her drum major audition.

Haynes laughed, “I said, ‘I don’t know what to do either. I would help you, but I don’t know what I’m doing!’”

Floyd continued, “We talk about stuff like that and other people are like, ‘What’s a cue or what’s this?’ I’m like, Morgan understands.”

“People ask me all the time how I juggle my schedule. I’m an officer in everything I do. Being fair queen representative plus drum major and constantly having stress on you, it’s really nice to have someone understand how much is on your shoulders,” said Haynes. “I can just be like, ‘You stressed out this week?’ It’s nice to know you’re not alone.”

This year’s Fairview/Holly Pond game will be at Holly Pond and both girls are looking forward to it. The meet and greet will be special and it’s the last game of the regular season for both schools. Haynes and Floyd will also cheer for each other at the band exhibition following the Cullman County Fair Parade Sept. 28.

When the girls aren’t busy with the band, pageants and the many clubs they are involved in at school, somehow, they do find time to just sit and watch television.

Haynes enjoys reading, playing guitar and piano and time with family.

Floyd likes being at home and said, “I don’t consider myself a typical teenager because I don’t like getting out a lot. I like staying home and spending time with my mom.”

After school both girls plan on starting out at Wallace State Community College. Floyd hopes to begin at Wallace before transferring to Jacksonville State. Haynes plans on taking basics at Wallace. She hopes to be a speech therapist and has several schools she is looking into.

Haynes is the daughter of Doyle and Margaret Haynes. Floyd is the daughter of Nathan and Bridget Pannell.

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