Student Spotlight: Acay Sanchez
Did you know that the Mayfair Monsoons Marching Corps is one of the largest programs on Mayfair’s Campus? In this current season, the core houses over 80 students (at its smallest). From Pep-Tunes at the occasional Pep-Rally to divine pieces played by the Symphonic Band during the winter, musicians must always be on deck.
However, who’s the face of all this? Acay Sanchez, Junior and Current Drum Major, who day in and day out is constantly at work within the band. Not only do they take on the most significant student leadership role in the program, but they must also keep up with changing itineraries, helping fellow leaders and sections, and so much more. I have the honor of being able to share their story; All the struggles and triumphs of what makes a beloved Drum Major, student, and friend.
“I come from a strict family. Growing up, I had to learn how to pick up stuff really quickly,” Acay says, “and not let anything confuse me or else I’d fail.” Coming from a set cultural background, Acay always had the drive to succeed. From the support and encouragement of their parents at times success could be found easily. However, it can also be quite difficult and draining. In their case, the idea of letting the people around them down weighed heavily. “However, my biggest inspiration has to be my parents though…they didn’t have the resources that I have. They came to the U.S. and worked as hard as they could to find money and a life together. I find that pretty amazing.”
“Like I said, my family is very strict, but also very religious.” From a young age, Acay could always feel that they were different when it came to their identity. “All my life I had gotten, ‘You’re a boy! You’re a boy!’ ever since kindergarten. All the girls would wear skirts but I would wear overalls. I remember thinking, ‘Am I really different?’” On top of carrying the weight of being a future success, the burden of sexuality and identity was a rather large pill to swallow as well. “It took a while to come to accept [myself], coming from my family (religious, strict) to be like ‘Hey, I’m gay’ was not a good thing at all. I started to think about if being a girl was really even my title and thinking about all those experiences from elementary school.” Today, Acay finds comfort in their identity as well as confidence from the support of friends and peers.
Understanding the amount of grit and perseverance for this role is almost a no brainer, for some the answer may be clear, treat others with kindness and it will follow you. Many other factors come into play as well, but what does it really take to be a leader? “When a leader fails their followers they fail themselves. They fail the people who trust them and believe in them. When leaders decide to give up, it’s a full circle experience, everyone is affected. One way we can avoid this is by encouraging those to ask for help, to keep going. It’s okay to not have all the answers; the only thing that really matters is making yourself happy.”
As much as it takes to do this job, is it something that you can find happiness in? “Little me always saw myself playing sports, and I won't lie, a part of me still wants that sometimes. Music is my passion though. Things like this can be bittersweet.” Acay plans on attending medical school after college, they yearn for the simple things in life: a stable income, decent hours, and breezy way of life. Maybe even a possible trip around the world! “While music is my passion, helping people is my true goal. I want to be a neurosurgeon.”
“Some of my proudest moments are when I make my parents proud,” Acay explains, “Knowing my hard work shows for all the things they’ve given my sister and I is something I wouldn't give up for the world… I wish people would understand that things aren't meant to be easy. The world is supposed to challenge us. However, we’re also not meant to do this alone. We’re all human here.”