Yosemite High School senior Alyssa Esposito, 17, is going down in school history as its first female drum major and, by all accounts, she's already more than earned that title.
It was when Esposito was in eighth grade that the high school percussion instructor began recruiting for the marching band so she decided to "give it a shot," she said. She began playing mallets in her freshman year of high school in San Diego, then her family relocated to Coarsegold. Transitioning from a marching band of 350 to 60 wasn't expected, but Esposito says she loves it up here.
When she joined percussion at YHS, she expected to continue with mallets, but YHS music director Randy Hyatt had other plans and decided to try her out on the base drum.
"I really liked it," Esposito said. "I like that you have to depend on the two other (drums) people and have to trust in other people to get their parts done to sound right."
So, for the last two years, Esposito has marched with the base drum. During those two years she says she was good friends with both the drum majors and thought "it would be really cool" to be a drum major. However, she didn't think she'd go through with the idea until her fellow band members pushed her to do it so she did.
"Everyone's so close," Esposito said. "It's like a giant family and you always have someone to turn to."
She participated in band camp at YHS this summer and says that really helped her get to know all the new students before school started and so far, her first couple weeks have gone well.
"It's kind of scary at first, but they're (fellow students) respectful and go with what I say," she said. "It's kind of cool knowing there's not another girl that's done this at this school and nice they give me the respect they've given male drum majors.
According to YHS sophomore Paizley Jackson, 15, Esposito is a strict leader, but says that's also a good thing. YHS senior Joe Ekman, 17, says she's always smiling, and seventh grader Emily Anderson says she likes Esposito because she knows everyone's name and is really nice.
Hyatt said having the first female drum major has been a lot of fun and she adds leadership and consistent support to the marching band.
"She is enthusiastic and upbeat," Hyatt said. "She manages tasks in an efficient and organized manner. She is very helpful ... a hard worker, and willing to jump in and help where needed. She is a strong leader and is also willing to serve."
On top of being drum major, Esposito also leads color guard, is in two choirs, plays softball, and is a youth group leader in her church.
"I don't like sitting at home," Esposito laughed.
Esposito's list of goals is long but one of those goals is to place in the Selma Band Review, which she says she is both nervous and excited about. Her long-term goals -- attend either Concordia or Whitworth University to study biology/pre-med and later pursue a career in pediatric medicine.
Esposito's mother, Kelly, said her daughter has always been very outgoing and goal oriented.
"I am very proud of her," Kelly said. "She is a very well rounded person. She's always been an honor roll student, been in advanced classes at school -- I'm very proud of her. She loves what she's doing and is just a blessing to us, the community and everyone she encounters."