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Martinsburg High School drummer Kandice Banks wants to study medicine

December 10, 2010|Tiffany Arnold | Staff writer
  • Kandice Banks, of Martinsburg High School,received the Outstanding Black High School Student Scholarship, which Marshall offers to African-American high school students who are nominated by their schools and have met a certain grade point average and other requirements.
Kandice Banks, of Martinsburg High School,received the Outstanding Black High School Student Scholarship, which Marshall offers to African-American high school students who are nominated by their schools and have met a certain grade point average and other requirements.

Martinsburg, W.Va. — Here’s one thing you don’t have say to Kandice Banks to get her to try hard: “You’re going to be graded on this.”

 “There’s a lot of entitlement and a lot of expectation for rewards for little or no effort. Kandice is not part of that sad, new trend,” said band director James Southern, who’s watched Kandice rise up the ranks of Martinsburg High School Bulldog Band. “She’s incredibly motivated and works hard because she has a lot of pride in herself and pride in what she puts out. It’s rare that you see that kind of maturity in a 17-year-old.”

Well, believe it.

This drummer, cheerleader, scholar and senior at Martinsburg High is on her way to Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., with hopes of becoming a doctor and with help from some scholarships to cover the tab.

Kandice received the Outstanding Black High School Student Scholarship, which Marshall offers to African-American high school students who are nominated by their schools and have met a certain grade point average and other requirements.

Kandice, who plans to be a pre-medicine major, said her GPA was 3.7 at last check, which she reached while juggling two demanding extracurricular activities: band and cheerleading.

Cheerleading started when she was in fourth grade, she said, with a competitive cheerleading club. Once in high school, she tried out for the cheerleading squad and has been on varsity every since.

This year she’s co-captain.

“People think we don’t really do much, except be pretty, loud and yell at the games,” Kandice said. “But there’s a lot more work to it than that. They don’t see the practices that we go through.”

The varsity cheerleaders at Martinsburg, Kandice said, do weight training in addition to practicing tumbling and other stunts. As co-captain, part of her job is to coordinate logistics — where and when to meet at the games, which uniforms to wear and which accessories will be needed to make the pack of cheerleaders seem seamless.

The drumming she gets from her grandfather, the late Ronald Jackson.

“He had a drum set at his house and I was always playing on it, getting in trouble for making too much noise,” Kandice said, who kept a perpetual pitty-pat tap going throughout the interview, as she lightly patted at her knees.

She’s been the section leader since her junior year.

“I knew when she came in that she was going to be a leader,” Southern said.

He said his hope is probably the same as most teachers’, that when Kandice goes off and becomes a big-time doctor, she’ll come back to Martinsburg High School and share the good news.

“It’s just nice when they come back and tell us about their successes and let us know how they’re doing,” Kandice said. “That’s what we all hope."

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