For Thomas Stratton, high school was an opportunity to grow alongside his peers, learn new things and further dive into his biggest passion: music.
The Destrehan resident has participated in school band since fourth grade, and his high school band career included being the band librarian his sophomore year, a section leader and band president in his junior year and serving as drum major his senior year.
“When I got to high school that’s what I worked toward,” Stratton said of the drum major honor. “I’ll miss my friends from band that I’m leaving, since I’ve gotten to know them and see them all come into the band and grow as people.”
Stratton – who was also a part of the National English Honor Society, National Honor Society and Earth Club at DHS – will head to Louisiana State University in the fall on a music scholarship.
“I’m going to major in music,” he said. “I’m most excited about being able to choose my classes and take classes that I’m actually interested in instead of just classes I have to take. The goal is to eventually be a trumpet professor at a major university … with that major I can also perform with ensembles and orchestras and stuff which would be really fun.”
Stratton said school has always come easy to him, so he wasn’t entirely surprised when he found out he had earned the distinction of being the Valedictorian of DHS’ 2021 graduating class.
“I kind of thought I was going to get it,” he said. “I got a phone call from my principal, Mr. Madere, while I was in the car driving.”
Still, he said, it was fun to tell his parents about his achievement.
“They were really happy,” he said laughing. “I think they were probably more excited than I was. My parents have been very supportive in everything that I do and have allowed me the freedom to make my own choices, which has made me I think a more responsible person.”