Loading crew captain Blen Habtemariam carries a riser and sets it up in the band hall. Habtemariam carried the riser with a younger loading crew member to teach them how to set it up.
Loading crew captain Blen Habtemariam carries a riser and sets it up in the band hall. Habtemariam carried the riser with a younger loading crew member to teach them how to set it up.
Mie Bakuya

Hawks Uncovered: Loading crew captain Blen Habtemariam

Editor’s Note: “Hawks Uncovered” is a series that tells the often unknown stories of Hebron students and staff.

When she was adjusting to being a part of the band, Blen Habtemariam said she found herself surrounded by inspiring influences who encouraged her to work. She was inspired by alumna Jada Williams, who was a tuba player and drum major. Williams helped Habtemariam realize what it felt like to be appreciated by the organization, and that was when Habtemariam realized she wanted to give back to it. 

Habtemariam first joined the band loading crew as a junior. Habtemariam said she initially joined because she saw it as an opportunity to get more involved with the band. Habtemariam figured being on the loading crew would help work her way up to the officer position, since she also tried out for tuba section leader. 

During her time on the loading crew her junior year, Habtemariam had a feeling she would be next for the position of loading crew captain — especially because the loading crew always takes one female and one male student with the most experience and makes them captains. 

Initially, Habtemariam said she wasn’t overly ecstatic about possibly becoming the captain because she wanted to focus on becoming the tuba section leader. However, she still put herself up to the task and began to show up more frequently to help out the loading crew as much as she could.

While she was proud of her achievements, Habtemariam said she struggled to balance all her tasks during summer band camp. 

She had to carry equipment off a truck early in the morning during the summer, then in the afternoon, she and other members would move around equipment based on where the band had to rehearse. 

Despite these obstacles the first few weeks of summer band camp, Habtemariam eventually learned how to balance all of her duties. Habtemariam learned that she had to prioritize being the loading crew captain and band officer, accepting the fact that she wouldn’t get to see the tuba section as much. 

She grew to love her new position as the captain. She does not have to do as much heavy lifting as regular members. Instead, loading crew captains must watch over the loading crew and ensure that every task goes smoothly. Habtemariam also guides younger members, as they go to her for any help they need. 

She also makes sure that the loading crew members still enjoy their time as they work. While Habtemariam does make sure everyone gets their work done, she said she makes sure the loading crew has an inviting environment, so she and other members can enjoy each other’s company during the year. 

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