Southwest senior creates harmony throughout high school career

If someone were to compose a symphony of Ava’s career at Southwest High School, it would feature a score of many uplifting notes.
The senior has relied on her optimism to become a positive leader in school hallways. Her list of activities includes everything from Jazz Band I to Japanese Club, and she has gained confidence since she first walked through the front door four years ago.
E Wing, which houses Southwest’s music department, has been the site of many of Ava’s top memories. She has treasured the friendships she has made while playing soulful harmonies alongside other Silver Hawks.

“The entirety of E Wing has always stood out to me, because it’s probably been the biggest part of my four years I’ve been here,” Ava said. “I’m always down here. That’s always impacted me, all of the people in it.”
Alyssa Wilhelm and John Matzen both said they have been impressed with the way Ava has helped others. Wilhelm directs Southwest’s band program and Matzen is the school’s principal. They have watched Ava blossom into a well-respected mentor for many of her classmates.
“Ava is just so positive and energetic,” Wilhelm said. “Every time I look into the band, whether it’s jazz band or concert band or marching band, she just always has a smile on her face and is super engaged. She’s worked so hard on improving her instrument and her leadership skills. Her growth has just been amazing. She’s just an awesome person.”
“From my observation of Ava, I have seen a big growth in confidence about how she can contribute to our school community,” Matzen said. “She has pursued her passions within our broad curricular offerings.”

Ava has made a significant impact on Southwest’s music scene. She was a rank leader for the flute section in the school’s marching band this past fall. The Silver Hawks spent weeks practicing and fine-tuning their show for contests and performances. Their work paid off when the band earned a Division I rating at the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association State Marching Festival.
Wilhelm said she heard many compliments from younger musicians about Ava’s work ethic and personality.

“I had a lot of freshmen, especially, say that they really appreciated the flute leaders,” Wilhelm said. “They made them feel so welcomed. They were part of an organization that’s really big, but because the flute section is smaller, they felt, ‘Oh, I instantly have some friends.’ She’s done a wonderful job as one of our leaders.”
Ava has also made a difference in Southwest’s Jazz I and Wind Ensemble groups with her abilities. She said the music department has been a constant source of support for her.
“The community, all the people, the teachers,” Ava said. “Everyone is there for each other, and you can always find a friend in E Wing, no matter what.”
Ava’s drawing talents have helped her illustrate enriching moments in other areas of the school. She is a member of an art club at Southwest and has taken multiple art classes. She plans to major in illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., which is near her dream destination in Orlando.

“I really want to work for Disney,” Ava said. “I’ve always loved Disney, both the movies and the theme parks. I would love to design for them in any way, shape or form.”
Ava participates in Japanese Club activities during the school year, and she was a stage crew member for Southwest’s performance at the 2022 International Thespian Festival. She also serves on LSW’s Unified Council, which helps plan and promote unified activities such as track and field, bowling, choir and physical education. She said it was fulfilling to be part of the inspirational group.

“When I was little, before art really hit off for me, I did want to become a special ed teacher, and honestly, I would still want to do that,” Ava said. “I love working with kids and my peers. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about them and learn more about their lives and how they see the world.”
Ava said she has benefited from the wide range of opportunities available at Southwest. She has shared her experiences with younger students and has encouraged them to become involved in school activities.

Wilhelm said those friendly leadership skills are why Ava has delivered a symphony of success in high school.
“That’s one great thing about teaching what I teach, because I get to see these kids grow over the course of their high school career,” Wilhelm said. “Seeing Ava when she was a freshman and seeing her grow over four years has been amazing."

Congratulations, Ava!
We wish you the best in your future endeavors.
We are thankful our educators could help you Launch at LPS!

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Published: April 29, 2024, Updated: April 29, 2024

Southwest High School senior Ava smiles with one of her artistic illustrations. She has composed a successful career at Southwest with her talents in music, art and other activities.