While small in stature, Willis High School's Luna Cortez gets a ton of respect, especially in band hall.
As the drum major for one of the best bands in the State of Texas, Cortez doesn't let her prestigious position get to her head. She's a quiet leader, who wields a big baton.
"When I was in elementary school, the band directors came over to talk about being in the band," she said. "I really remember that so well. They showed off all the instruments and I just loved how pretty the flute sounded. I enjoyed watching them play that day and I knew I wanted to join."
Sure enough, Cortez made her way through the ranks in middle school and high school, landing her in the lead role."
Once I really got into it in junior high, I fell in love," she said. "The students, the teachers, everything. It became my passion and it still is."
So, what does it take to lead the band?
Time, discipline, dedication and talent of course, but what else?
"It's all about leadership," she said. "I've learned from those who came before me and I've learned so much from making mistakes and learning from them," she said. "I've taken all of these leadership qualities I've learned inside of school and apply them to my everyday life."
She has aspirations of attending Texas A&M or Sam Houston with a career path of being a physician's assistant. She will play the flute as a hobby along with her other passion.
"I really love to bake," she laughed. "My specialties are cookies and brownies."