Solid academics and top musical ability placed a Harker Heights High School junior among the Texas high school fine arts elite.
TJ Piekarski is a Texas Music Scholar, one of less than 1,500 in the state.
The Texas Music Educators Association awards the music scholar title based on scholastic merit, musicianship and citizenship. Students are nominated by about 10,000 teachers.
Jeremy Cameron, Harker Heights High School orchestra director, said his top viola player takes care of business both in the classroom and in rehearsals.
Piekarski is the leader of his section and has won about every competition the orchestra event offered.
He made the state’s all-region orchestra, received the top rating on the highest caliber Class 1 solo and maintains all A’s while taking dual-credit classes through the Texas Bioscience Institute.
Piekarski started playing viola in the Killeen Independent School District’s strings program as a sixth-grader.
It’s daily practice, he said, that is required to excel in orchestra and most other complex undertakings.
The top student said he’s committed to continuing his education after high school, though he doesn’t know where and in what field. He said trying out for a college orchestra is a possibility.
He’s a fan of the TBI program, a rigorous dual-credit offering through Temple College that allows students to spend half of their school day in a college lab setting.
Piekarski said he’s considering the medical field as a career.
He’s also complimentary of Harker Heights High School’s orchestra.
“I think it’s great we have orchestra here, it is a distinguishing factor for Harker Heights,” he said.