Destrehan High School Valedictorian: Joshua Walther

Through COVID-19, through Hurricane Ida, through major changes in routine and habit, Joshua Walther kept his eye on the prize.

Walther finished at the very top of his class at Destrehan High School, his high school tenure capped by the honor of Class of 2023 valedictorian, proving his adaptability on top of the many other skills it takes to earn that distinction.

“I just kind of worked hard and did my best … it wasn’t anything I really expected,” Walther said. “There were a couple of us in the running for it awhile back. Eventually, once grades finalized (DHS principal Jason Madere) called and congratulated me. It feels good because it’s definitely something I worked hard for.”

Of course, his family was over the moon to hear the news.

“They loved it,” Walther said. “My grandma was tearing up when she learned about it.”’

Walther’s plans are to attend LSU and study computer science there, a subject he’s long been interested in. He took additional liking to that area of learning after taking some courses on programming that he enjoyed. Likewise, he makes programs on his computer as a hobby.

“I was always interested in engineering, but I never really felt a connection with physical, hands on engineering. I’ve always been more interested in technology and things connected to that,” Walther said. “LSU has a really good program there. I have friends going there, the campus is nice and I enjoyed visiting. It’s close to home too, which is nice.”

Walther’s got a strong competitive drive. He was captain of the Destrehan tennis team and helped lead that squad to the state championship tournament – Walther won eight matches between singles and doubles competition over the course of the season.

He also enjoys teaching what he’s learned on the tennis court. Walther frequently instructs younger players on weekends, paying his passion and knowledge forward to a new generation of players. He began playing when he was 7 years old and he hasn’t stopped since.

“I started playing in a rec league and that got me into it,” Walther said. “It’s a very solo sport where you really have to depend on yourself to win. It’s a lot of dedication, time and effort going into it.”

Walther was part of the National Honor Society, English National Honor Society, film club and Wildcat Mentors, in which upperclassmen introduce incoming 8th grade and freshman students to DHS life.

“That was a little scary at first because it’s so many kids,” he said. “At orientation, we’d lead them around and give them a tour of the school. It was definitely a lot of fun.”

He credited his parents for their incredible support over the years being a key part of what made the valedictorian honor a reality.

They’ve always been there for me. They made sure I had everything I needed and got everywhere I needed to be on time. They had a lot to do with this,” he said.


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