In sixth grade, Samantha entered the band. Even though the band director at the time wanted her to play the trumpet, she managed to convince him to let her go with the flute instead, because as she put it, “I thought the trumpet was kind of a boy instrument.” With the instrument gender question addressed, Samantha settled in as a flute player. In her ninth grade year, however, The Pride formed their first marching color guard and Samantha was immediately interested. “Something about [the color guard] attracted me to it,” she said as she explained her motivation for becoming a flag spinner. “I love to be in front of people. I just like to have people notice me. I’m an attention hog!”
Performing in front of an audience is not limited to Samantha’s time on the field with the band. “I am also a big theater freak. My love for theater and my love for band are about the same.” Her passion for the stage found an outlet in Mr. Boone’s drama class, where she has appeared in several productions in both lead and supporting roles. In fact, Samantha’s satisfaction from being on stage is leading her to consider a career in theater.
Those career hopes may begin to be realized when Samantha finds a place on the campus of Northwest Community College next fall as a freshman. “I’m not exactly sure if I’ll [be in] the band there,” she said in detailing her plans. “I know I’m going to do theater there, but I don’t know if I can live without band either.” She is still uncertain as to an academic field of study, however. “I’m kind of thinking about going to Disney college,” said Samantha as she explained how it worked. “When you enroll in a four year university, you go down there for a semester, and you take classes.” The theory is, that by taking their acting classes, Samantha will be equipped to secure a spot as an intern with Disney after college, initially “…working as a character in a suit or something.” In other words, Sojo aspires to get her start as the next Mickey Mouse. “And my parents are [encouraging me] to go to Disney college,” she added, but speculated their encouragement might have something to do with the potential to get free tickets to Disney World.
As for her academic classes, she sites Chemistry and her honors English class as her favorite subjects. “I’m a spelling freak,” she volunteered. “I love spelling. I actually watch the [national] spelling bee. If it’s on [TV], I’m watching the whole thing,” she added with a laugh. She lived for the spelling bee competitions in elementary school and actually made it to the county finals in sixth grade. “I was really sad when I couldn’t be in the spelling bee anymore.”
The 2005 marching season will dominate Samantha memories of her time in the band. Early in the season she had serious doubts about The Pride’s ability to compete at all as a first year 4A band. “I felt we had room to grow in every area at the beginning, but it got better as we went along. But I don’t think any of us thought in five million years that we would win [the state championship] this year,” she said. That all changed instantly when the awards were handed out for the state competition. “When they announced second place, [and we realized we had first], we thought, wait a second, is that right? We were in shock!”
As a member of the first graduating class of Desoto Central, Samantha listed many things about her life here that she will miss. “I’m going to miss my teachers, and my classes and all my friends. I’m going to miss the band and all the memories and excitement of performing a show,” she offered. All these experiences will become a cherished memory when Samantha Sojourner graduates this spring and steps onto a new stage…the stage of her own life.