There aren't too many better ways to celebrate the title of valedictorian than with a heel kick on the 50-yard line of Midlothian ISD Multi-Purpose Stadium.

Jamison Price is no stranger to the turf field, either, as he spent the past football season running up and down it with a spirit flag in hand. He also paraded along with the marching band, though oddly without ever playing an instrument.

"I held a clarinet without a reed and just showed up to practices every single morning and marched for fun because I like performing in front of people," Price explained while he sat in the stands of the stadium.

Price participated in the marching band for the past two years despite having never played an instrument in his life.

Price spent his high school career studying diligently and challenging himself in the arts as well. Along with his participation in the band, he also danced and sang in musical theater productions.

But he was not always invested in fine arts.

His freshmen and sophomore year he focused on basketball and envisioned himself finishing high school on the varsity team. However, as a joke, he auditioned for a role in "Grease."

And got it — right in the middle of basketball season.

Price began to weigh the significance between athletics and theater. He wound up missing rehearsal up until the final week of the show, "but when we performed, it was one of the most amazing things."

"Choosing theater over basketball for the past two years has been the most profound thing. Really it has," Price emphasized. "Quitting basketball, it was the biggest decision that I've ever made and the best ever. I wouldn't be valedictorian if I played basketball either, I wouldn't have been a flag runner or done things with the Pantherettes shows."

Price continued to feed off the crowd with his involvement in the Pantherette show in April. He was also a member of the student council and had the honor to emcee the school pep rallies, which was a first-time honor his senior year. He also competed in computer science for UIL.

"It's a blast; it's exhilarating," Price explained. "I gotta bring the energy and whatever makes the crowd hype."

Price will attend Texas A&M University to study chemical engineering, and since he earned the title valedictorian, the state will pay for the first year. Even though Price managed to balance extracurricular activities and accelerated academia, he plans to enjoy his time in college and not fret about perfect scores.

"I'm going down there to cool off," Price expressed. "I've pushed myself the past four years for the valedictorian title. It was totally worth it but I'm gonna lay low. I'm going to still try but not worry about the straight A's."

In his leisure time, Price plans to take his amateur piano skills to the next level.

Price is the youngest of four and is the first to leave Ellis County for college and not attend Southwestern Assemblies of God University, where both of his parents teach.

The best advice he could provide to the younger Panthers is to take the most challenging courses junior year to be able to manage an enjoyable senior year.

The beginning of his senior year was challenging to manage 12-hour days where his extracurricular activities all took place at the same time. Meanwhile, he maintained a job at Best Buy in Waxahachie.

Price thanked Ms. Hallmark for allowing him to perform in "Grease" even though he did not attend the required amount of rehearsals. He also acknowledged his parents and the experienced MISD teachers that care about the students.

"I'm going to miss the people I see every day; they are great people," Price said. "I'm going to miss the whole experience of the high school grind, but I'm excited about college. It's going to be fun."

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450