OLATHE, Kan. -- As schools break for the holidays this week, some students will be going on exciting expeditions of learning and recognition for their accomplishments. This week's Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever is one of them. Forrest Goyer will be blowing his trombone as one of the nation's high school All-American marching musicians.
It may all look like so much gobbledygook to most of us but to Forrest Goyer, as he concentrates on the dual laptop computers on the desk in front of him, it's all making perfect sense. For his ambitious independent study project in the Distinguished Scholars program at Olathe North High School, this hard-working, academically-gifted senior is teaching himself Java, a computer programming language.
"This is pretty much the basis of what I want to get into, I think, at least," says Forrest. "What I'm doing is helping me get ahead in the programming world and so I can start now on creating applications and things like that. By learning that, I'll be able to create Android applications, which I really want to do"
With the same kind of effort and determination he's put in to becoming a first-rate science and math student, Forrest has also made himself into an outstanding musician.
"They mesh," says Forrest, as his trombone sits in a rack next to him. "Both of them feel right. And I just do it and it feels good to accomplish in both of those."
And Forrest certainly has accomplished a lot with his trombone. He shines in several large and small orchestras and bands at Olathe North. And as drum major for the marching band, he is essentially the team captain of that big group. He's also a supportive trombone section leader, helping others become better players and learn their parts.
"Definitely a standout among his peers but at the same time, it's not something he holds over them or flaunts," says Olathe North High Director of Bands Justin Love.
Love says Forrest has the character of the versatile, important instrument he plays.
"He is very much a team player," says Love. "He can stand up and provide the solo and be that lead and he's also just as happy playing the background parts and the roles that no one ever really realizes is there but if you took them away you would suddenly know they are missing."
Forrest has earned just about every local and state award for a high school musician and now the national spotlight is shining on him. He's been selected to the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, recognized as the top 125 marching musicians and color guard members from high schools across the nation.
"It's a pretty big opportunity because it will be good experience for me to work with those kinds of people who excel in music like I do and enjoy it as much as I do," says Forrest.
They better be good. After only a few days of rehearsing together during the holiday break in San Antonio, Forrest and the rest of the band will perform an elaborate half-time show at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl football game in the Alamodome January 7th.
"It will probably be a challenge but from the way they picked us, we are some of the best of the best, so we should be able to put it together," says Forrest.
Band director Love says there is no doubt his star trombone player deserves this honor.
"He is an outstanding musician," says Love. "You can tell he really enjoys it just for the sake of learning new things and trying new things. And any time you have that passion, that desire to get better at something or to learn more about something, I think it's going to make you better and better. And he's obviously done that."
An All-American in marching music and so much more.
There are two more metro area members of the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, both from Blue Springs, MO high schools. Percussionist Andrew Brogan of Blue Springs High and color guard member Ashley Rash of Blue Springs South High will join Forrest in San Antonio.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.