SIT valedictorian DeAndre Wilson found ways to stay involved

jwhitfield@newsobserver.comJune 6, 2014 

— DeAndre Wilson is an out-there kind of guy. He’s flashy and bold. But he’s also serious about the important stuff.

That focus on the important stuff led Wilson to a 4.7 grade point average in high school and the title of valedictorian of the East Wake School of Integrated Technology.

And though Wilson was in a decided technical school, he found his greatest enjoyment in the arts, where he was a member of the East Wake Blue Spirit Marching Band throughout his high school career. That love of music will live on in Wilson as he attends East Carolina to study Music Education and Music Performance. His instrumental skills are wide and varied. His primary instrument is the trombone. “I dabble in the baritone and tuba and I play the piccolo a little bit,” Wilson said.

On the academic side, Wilson has long dreamed of reaching this pinnacle. “I had two goals in sixth grade. I wanted to be a drum major and I wanted to be the valedictorian of my high school class,” Wilson said.

Wilson didn’t accomplish his first goal, but his classmates would be the first to say that he has been a de facto leader in the school band. The second goal is his to keep.

The son of Stephanie Wells and Donald Wilson of Wendell, DeAndre Wilson has found time to run track at the school, work with the marching and concert bands, the winter drumline and he’s done it all while keeping up with the school work. In fact, he credits a trio of band directors, former Wendell Middle band director Renee Todd, former East Wake band director Les Turner and current director Alan Mason with helping keep him on track.

“They knew my grades were important to me and they pushed me to make sure I was taking care of that,” Wilson said.

He also points to one of his academic teachers – social studies teacher Jamie Lemmond – as a profound influence. “He’s an energetic teacher who really makes sure you know the material. He was also my track coach for four years, so I spent a lot of time with him,” Wilson said.

Managing the academics, the sports and other extracurriculars, like the National Honor Society, the Interact Club and his work as student council treasurer hasn’t always been easy, but Wilson said they were all things he wanted to do.

“I felt like putting myself out there to put some pressure on myself, and now it makes me feel even more accomplished,” Wilson said.

Whitfield: 919-829-4823; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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