The Junior Reserves Officer Training Corps was available to me throughout my entire high school career. Their main goal was to make students better citizens. I excelled in that program a lot as being a third generation cadet. It was 10th grade when I was given a leadership position. I was platoon sergeant and was put into the Junior Leadership/Academic Bowl Team that competes nationally. The team consisted of four cadets participating, “The JROTC Leadership Bowl tests Cadets on their knowledge by hands- on and interactive learning.One of the main goals was for us to think outside the box and encourage us to discover and utilize our leadership abilities.” My team and I was able to go to Washington D.C. to compete at the national level. 11th grade year I became co-captain for the JLAB team. We were once again able compete at the national level, but due to budget cuts we were not able to go to Washington D.C. so we continued on-line. I learned a lot from being in this team because it exercised my knowledge, cooperation, team building, and leadership skills that I still apply in class and group work. Various competitions throughout the year also exercised my leadership skills, teaching younger cadets the basics of marching techniques and behavior, and leadership as well. I became the the Public Affairs Officer 11th grade and my last year where I wrote a monthly newsletter of events that happened in our program, I also publicized our program, and communicated with a good deal of people. I also competed to be in the Top Ten All-City Staff which I made as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer (ranked 10) in the LAUSD where I would be a role model to all cadets in the LAUSD and promote the program, and show leadership skills throughout JROTC events my senior year. The JROTC program has taught me well on how to become a leader and a better citizen.


Feeling the Pulse



Drumline season happens during second semester. I started in eleventh grade, up to twelfth grade, a synthesizer player. I had three coaches that were very strict as well. I grew with them musically and as a leader. I became co-section leader for the front ensemble. We performed in various occasions and locations, and we also competed in the American Drum Line Association (ADLA) which we competed in scholastic division along with the other 175 ensembles throughout the southwestern u.s. I’ve performed in front of over hundreds of people, but throughout the competitions, I got rid of my fear of performing in public.


Group photo before performing

“Sound off who are we? We’re number One!”


The Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band has been involved with the Tournament of Roses Parade. “The band brings students from all four corners of our District together for one common goal, to represent LAUSD at a high profile event in the finest manner possible.The All City Band also provides high school students with the opportunity to develop important life skills including teamwork, character development, dedication, and collaboration.” I first found out about All-City Band in the middle of eleventh grade and wanted to participate my senior year. I was going for drumline so I had to audition. On audition day, I was very nervous but had confidence I passed. A few days later, I saw my name on the list they posted who had made it. I was very ecstatic! Then came Saturday practices until winter break which would be everyday, except Christmas Eve and Christmas, until the Rose Parade. We performed at California Adventure and Bandfest in Pasadena where they feature the selected bands to participate in the Tournament Of Roses. Finishing the 5.5 mile parade is one of my greatest accomplishments. As well as the 3 mile (extended) Martin Luther King Parade. But it was during practices that shaped me into the musician I am today. The drumline coaches I had were strict and very precise on what they wanted. Of course I was yelled at a couple of times, but I eventually learned the style and technique of the all city band. I also learned from the other students around me, because some were more experienced than me. I applied everything I knew afterwards to concert band and it certainly did have an impact to the entire wind ensemble as well as the drumline for my high school.


Band Geek

As a child, my mother put me into vocal and piano lessons at the age of eight. I had these lessons for three years. I have had three singing recitals, two singing concerts, and three piano recitals as well. At the time, I did not like piano or singing because I wanted to do what I wanted to do: which was have play time. So after three years of lessons, I stopped receiving lessons because I was capable of the basics and could excel on my own. Though I did not do that. I drifted apart from piano and singing until ninth grade where I realized I had a passion for singing and piano.

In ninth grade, I was interested in joining the marching band but I was too shy since I had just started high school. In tenth grade, I had the courage to finally join. Soon enough, I knew I definitely had a passion for music. I learned more and more as months passed by. My coaches and instructor helped me with difficulties, we competed against other high schools which was a new experience for me, and I met friends that I could relate to. Then came the second semester: concert band–greatly different from marching band. I expanded my knowledge around that time as well. In eleventh grade, I basically did the same thing. In twelfth grade, I had became a section leader for the front ensemble for marching band, and the co-section leader of the percussion section for concert band as well which enhanced my leadership and musical skills that I still apply today.

Because I am Loved


Me, Nikki, my Mother, & Candice

I live with my mother, two older sisters, and daughter. I was born in the Philippines, moved to Texas to be with my father until I was done with second grade, back to the Philippines where I would begin performing arts school, then to California to continue on with my education in 6th grade up until present day. My mother has always been strict on me since day one, disciplining me whenever I did something wrong then I would never do that misbehaved action again. She always pushed me to do well in school and school work. She always told me if I did good, I would have a better job and I wouldn’t have to struggle as much as she did when she was growing up. She is still my motivation today. Here is a song by Celine Dion called Because You Loved Me dedicated to her.

This song was written for the movie Up Close & Personal and is meant to be soulful. This told the story of the movie of a little girl thanking her father for doing everything and all the support he has given. This is the same for my mother. She still supported me through all the problems we have had, and all the positive events throughout my life. My father recently passed away last year in June. I was not too close with him, but he was a very kind man. My two older sisters have always watched out for me and told me what was wrong and what was right whenever I would tell them I wanted to do something. They stopped me from becoming a delinquent before my mother found out. They have also been my motivation and my best friends because I can talk to them about anything and ask them for advice and it would be positive most of the time.

My two and a half year old daughter is my main happiness in this world. Being a teenage mother and going to school full time is not easy, but I manage. She has taught me better time management skills, I have matured greatly, and most of all responsibility. I was not accepted right away by some people but I have learned that their opinion does not matter to me, I am not the stereotypical teenage parent who drops out of school and becomes a stay-at-home mom and that’s all she does. I have had motivation throughout my entire life and no one can put me down for any reason. 

This song urges people to “make some noise” for what they believe in. This relates to me because I Have stood up for myself many times to people who despise that I have a child at a young age, but yet I am on the road to success.

The Hidden to be Discovered

IMG_2898Hello folks! My name is Kimberly Durden, I’m 18 years old, born April 22, 1997 (Earth Day!) I live in North Hills, California and I’m currently attending the California State University of Northridge as a freshman to obtain my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. I’m generally a nice, sweet, funny (out of my comfort zone), outgoing, bright, talented, and loving person. This blog is about my past experiences and how these parts of my identity and life experiences might help others to understand that there are many ways to become big in the future, when you have started small, with what I’ve accomplished. This blog will focus on the significant activities and people who have shaped my identity.