Ohio State University senior Jocelyn Smallwood won't be the first woman ever to dot the i in Script Ohio Nov. 24.
But she will be the first woman to do so during the marching band's halftime performance at the OSU-Michigan game.
Smallwood, a 2009 graduate of Upper Arlington High School, is the daughter of Carl and Connie Smallwood. She is the top-ranked sousaphone player in her fourth year in the OSU Marching Band.
"The day I finally got to call my parents and friends and tell them that I actually was going to get to dot the i against Michigan is something I will never forget," Smallwood said.
"I can't describe how excited I am for Jocelyn," UAHS Band Director Mike Manser said. "She was a student who I first had as a sixth-grader and then again during her high school years. She is an exceptional person who brings positive enthusiasm and a great spirit to everything she does.
"She served as an officer of the band during her senior year and was a fantastic mentor to younger students."
Manser said he has been to many OSU games and "watched hundreds."
"I have never looked forward to a game as much as this," he said. "To see Jocelyn accomplish this difficult goal is very satisfying."
Smallwood said she has been working toward the goal of dotting the i for a long time.
"I decided the Michigan game would be the game I wanted to dot even before I made the band, but I knew that was a long way off and that I had to focus and work hard to make that a possibility," she said. "About halfway through my first year in the band, I realized if I kept winning my challenges and passing my music checks that I might actually get the opportunity."
Smallwood said band members march in performances if they are on time for practice and events, pass all music checks and win challenges. Of the 14 band members in a row, two are alternates, with 12 allowed to march at each game. The alternates may "challenge" one of the 12 regular members on the Monday before the game to a 20-minute repeat of tryouts where both are evaluated on how well they can march and play.
"Whoever marches the most performances is ranked first and gets to pick which game they want first," Smallwood said. "Fortunately, because I am first in my class, I was able to choose first and picked the Michigan game."
Smallwood said her experience as a band member at Upper Arlington High School led to her success at OSU.
"My experience in high school really intensified my love of music and gave me a way to learn more about it and express it, which was vital," she said. "The people I was in band with in high school are still some of my closest friends and the experience we shared helped me grow.
"I left that band as a stronger, more confident, happier person and a better musician," she said. "It is a wonderful organization and shaped me more than I can describe. I wouldn't be where I am today without that group and those people."
Smallwood is majoring in international studies with a focus on security and intelligence.