by Andrew Garda

Like every senior at Montclair High School, Maya Roberts is having to deal with missing out on most of the things she should be enjoying in her last months at the school.

A member of the marching band, the senior flutist did get one more season playing at football games, but prom, Project Graduation, and even just a normal spring with her friends have not happened.

Still, Roberts has continued to play, even with the marching done, and will continue to do so even when she attends school at The College of New Jersey.

“I’d like to just because I spent so much of my life on it,” she said. “I want to see if I can find something that’s, like, low-key, nothing too serious. Where I could just, like, play with a couple people for fun. I definitely don’t want to stop playing just because I spent, like, so much time with it. I don’t want to just give it up.”

Friendship is a big reason why she stayed with Marching Band after she initially tried it at the behest of her father, Dan Roberts, who is a football coach with the Mounties.

“He was, like, you should do it,” she said. “It was, like, a little encouragement sort of thing. I was, like, ‘Oh, okay, I’ll try it just this year for you.’ I ended up really, really liking it.”

Even though it packed her Saturdays for the fall, Roberts really enjoyed the time spent watching and cheering her dad on as well as hanging out with her friends in the band.

“The people in the band, I feel like it was a really nice community,” Roberts said. “It’s, like, I woke up early, but I got to, like, be with people who were fun to be around, who enjoyed playing music like I did.”

That’s been one of the things that has been difficult for Roberts, because as tough as virtual instruction has been for students across the board, it’s another level of difficulty to play music in that setting.

“It’s definitely hard to coordinate, like, practice and stuff,” she said. “I honestly feel that I am not as motivated as I was to practice at home, because I knew that we weren’t going to go back and [it] doesn’t make me want to practice the music so much.  It was just really hard for me to, like, work up the motivation to just get back into it and play. Whereas before it was, like, ‘Oh, I want to practice because I want to be the best.’”

Roberts does practice, though, and continues to work through her classes as she heads toward graduation and college. Meanwhile, she has more time to fill when not in class and spends a lot of it reading and listening to music.

“I've been listening to a lot of music, and I’m reading a bunch. I’ve been trying to read all of the unread books on my bookshelf, and there are a lot of them,” she said.

When not reading books such as the “Shades of Magic” series by V. E. Schwab, Roberts plays video games with her sister, Riley. 

“We’ve been playing a lot of this Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, that game, we’ve been playing a lot of together and Mario Party,” she said.

Like many other people during the shutdown, Roberts has been playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. She has an island in the game, but allows her sister to play on it as well.

“She does most of the work, because I’m not good at designing stuff,” Roberts said. “So she does that stuff. I just invite the villagers over. She can do whatever. If I leave stuff out, she can just take it. And she does.”

When life returns to normal, Roberts will head to TCNJ with hopes of becoming an educator. 

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher my entire life,” she said. “Literally for as long as I can remember, I wanted to teach people. I want to teach younger children. I think I just want to, like, help them, I guess.”