Homework: SOW Josh Wilson September 08, 2008

Palisade High senior mixes music into everything

SOW Palisade High School senior Josh Wilson is a skilled viola player and does very well in math, but he wants to be an English teacher.

The common thread that unites everything Josh Wilson does is a love of sound.

His favorite subject in school is language arts because he loves the phonetics of linguistics.

He recites poetry to himself when he reads it.

And when he practices viola, he does so in the bathroom to hear the echo.

“I love hearing how sounds come together to form meaning,” Wilson said.

The 17-year-old valedictorian candidate is entering his senior year at Palisade High School. He is excited for his last year of high school, he said, thanks in no small part to a supportive administration and involved teachers who keep him energized for class. Valedictorian would be a great honor, he said, but his competition is his best friend, so if he doesn’t win, that would be OK, he said.

“It’s a win-win,” Wilson said.

Wilson and his family moved to Palisade in 2002 from El Paso, Texas. Growing up in the Lone Star state and in a town where the population was 85 percent Hispanic, Wilson said, he was taught to celebrate the Mexican culture as his own.

“It was a bit of a culture shock,” Wilson said. “The population is more balanced here.”

Wilson said he loves Palisade and finds the view of Grand Mesa from his backyard inspiring. One of Wilson’s hobbies is to paint landscapes in an oil medium, he said.

Wilson’s father, Scott, said his son’s driven nature has flourished at Palisade High because the small school has allowed him to try many activities.

“Everything he does he does on his own,” Scott Wilson said. “And he’s tried everything.”

“Everything” is speech and debate team, fencing, golf, theater and, of course, the viola.

JoshWilson began playing the instrument eight years ago at the urging of his father despite his gravitation to the French horn, he said. But he stuck with it, and this year he will try out for his third year on Colorado All-State orchestra.

He’s a self-confessed competitor, Wilson said, so the pressure doesn’t bother him.

In fact, competition is what attracts Wilson to his first choice for college: Yale University. In addition to a strong English program, Wilson said, he would fit right into the inter-house competition of Yale tradition.

He wants to major in English, Wilson said, but beyond that he isn’t sure if he would like to pursue a graduate degree in the subject or go on to law school.

The one certainty is he’d like to remain a life-long student.

“I never want to get to the point where I feel content with my knowledge base,” Wilson said.

Family: Parents are Scott and Jackie Wilson, and he has a 16-year-old sister, Hannah, who likes to sing.

GPA: 4.3

Favorite movie: Right now, “There Will Be Blood,” but Wilson is a self-described movie buff. He and his sister
hold movie showings every weekend, he said.

Little-known fact: He loves anime.


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