The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Miguel Flores-Padilla: A melody of success and mastery

Jon Swope, edited by Jasmina Buranich
From his sincere relationships within the NC community to his contributions to Friday night football games, senior drum major Miguel Flores-Padilla has embedded his essence into the Warrior Nation. Inspired by the people around him, specifically previous band director Sheldon Fraizer, Flores-Padilla’s tenderness to the people he cherishes and his leadership to the marching band highlights his desire for human connections and his passion for music. Proudly holding his Mexican-American identity close to him, he seeks diversity and inclusion in the brunt of hardship.

As the Warrior Nation made their way to the stands for Friday Night Lights this football season, they heard the cheers of the unified student section, witnessed incredible plays from the NC varsity football team (4-1), enjoyed cohesive and elegant halftime performances from NC’s color guard team and of course, listened to the beautiful sounds of music and school-spirited tunes of NC’s marching band. Looking in front of the marching band’s section, fans can spot NC’s talented and personable drum major on his podium, overseeing his classmates and conducting the sounds played. Easily recognizable from the beaming smile on his face, senior drum major Miguel Flores-Padilla transformed this year’s FNL into unforgettable moments that created long-lasting memories.

“Executing my thoughts with my primary instrument is always instrumental to whatever I do. It’s most helpful—communication— when I am solving people’s problems like when people take things too personally, or when people let things outside of band affect their band relationships. Respecting people’s emotions and then [letting people figure out a solution for themselves] rather than just telling them what to do is really really important. Building that communication system has been essential in that journey,” Flores-Padilla said. 

As the highest chain of command in NC’s marching band, Flores-Padilla conducts the Friday night football games and competitions. Nonetheless, leadership—to him—does not only include wonderfully carrying out obligations during rehearsals and football games. Inspired by previous band director Sheldon Fraizer, Flores-Padilla works to execute a talented performance and to prioritize forming human connections with the individual members of the marching band. Seeking to know people beyond their surfaces and become a stronger leader, he has perfected his communication and problem-solving skills. He holds himself to a strict standard, seeking to return the gift of kindness to his fellow members of the marching band. 

The drum major has also indulged in other music-oriented extracurricular activities around campus such as his community involvement in organizations such as Tri-M Music Honor Society, United Sound and Silent Command. Moreover, Flores-Padilla boasts a 4.479 GPA, making him a competitive applicant to the variety of top-tier universities he wishes to attend. Of course, the University of Georgia earns a spot on his list—Go Dawgs!— as he plans to pursue his dream of music education, specifically collegiate wind conducting. 

When not in rehearsals, on his podium or in school, people can find Flores-Padilla eating wings from anywhere, literally anywhere. From Wingstop to Little Caesars to a lowkey wing shop in Chicago, the food fanatic does not hesitate to delve into his cravings. However, if one has checked every wing spot in the metro Atlanta area—and Chicago, too—and still no Flores-Padilla in sight, one may find him walking his shiba inu or sneaking in a thirty-minute power nap amidst his busy schedule. Furthermore, he enjoys engaging in meditation and spending time with his friends and girlfriend, senior Madeleine Corrao.

“From the outside, Miguel is often seen as a leader, teacher, drum major, section leader, and more. But before all of that, he’s a curious student and friend always craving for more opportunities to learn, grow, and seek different opinions than his own. He takes in every experience he’s given and always finds a way to learn, grow, or change from it.From staying after school to ask his teachers for more insight and guidance to having hour-long discussions with his friends and their opinions on how a certain etude is supposed to be played, his authenticity and passion to build relationships with others not only make him a great leader but a lovable friend and person as well,” Corrao said.

Above all comes Flores-Padilla’s cultural identity. As a proud Mexican-American, he cherishes his connections with his family members in the States and in Mexico. Despite NC’s diverse student body, he has encountered two problems: one, in the opportunities that he engages in, nobody looks like him; two, he faces discrimination within his community, not from other communities. Nonetheless, Flores-Padilla’s optimistic spirit allows him to find or create Hispanic communities in spaces that lack them and to wear his Mexican heritage proudly in the face of adversity.   

“I am proudly Mexican-American and with that, it’s no secret that growing up as a Mexican in America spawns some prejudice among other Mexicans [because of] the idea that you aren’t Mexican enough unless you speak perfect Spanish and you are really connected with your culture. The truth is, the majority of my family lives in Mexico and I am very disconnected from them living in Georgia. So, it’s not as easy to be able to connect with those people. A lot of the time, just growing up in America, I’ve always felt very distant from those people who I do care about…I would say I haven’t experienced much prejudice amongst non-Hispanics, like racial discrimination toward me. It’s more of just within my own culture,” Flores-Padilla said. 

Flores-Padilla’s unconditional optimism and warmth bleeds into all areas of his life. Adored by faculty members such as band director Scott Pannell and AP Psychology teacher William Hargis, Flores-Padilla has engraved his name and reputation into the NC community. He puts his best foot forward through every extracurricular activity, personal relationship, academic obligation and his own goals that he sets for himself. He describes himself as a culmination of the people he has met and the experiences he has lived through; he stands as a reflection of his surroundings. 

Although the Warrior Nation will miss seeing his beaming smile during FNL and his peers will miss his tender personality and wisdom, The Chant can only wish him the best on his journey to higher education and beyond. 


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About the Contributor
Jasmina Buranich
Jasmina Buranich, Editor in Chief
Jasmina Buranich, a senior at NC, joined The Chant in 2022 to fulfill her passion for editing and learning about the writing techniques of others, sharing her opinions and research and networking with others. As she enters her last year on The Chant, she hopes to create meaningful memories with her fellow editors and reporters, meet new friends, highlight the successes of minority students at NC and continue publishing her research about the criminal justice system. When not writing, Buranich enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling with her family, volunteering in Cobb County and nationally, and helping her classmates with their academic assignments. After high school, Buranich hopes to attend a large university with a diverse student body and, hopefully, a student-led newspaper.

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