If you were in attendance at last year’s New Paltz High School talent show, you will surely remember Tribute by Tenacious D, a hysterical musical act complete with capes. This feat was the work of current senior Nick Thompson and his partner in crime since sixth grade, Logan McPherson.
“Every time I go up there, I get really happy,” Thompson says. “In school I’m really quiet and shy, but when I get up on stage I get to joke around with the audience.”
Music and performance have always been Thompson’s favorite outlets. Inspired by his dad, a drummer, Thompson followed in his footsteps. This year, he is the high school band’s drumline leader as well as a member of the jazz band. He of course plans to work with McPherson again for their talent-show act.
“I want to be more collaborative with my music,” Thompson says. In his sophomore and junior years, he was a member of the band Cave Talk with NPHS graduates Danny Carubia, Giannina Crocitto and Nathan Kerpez. He was able to channel some of his aspirations into creating songs. “The energy we had to write music, that’s what I really cherish,” he says. In a similar vein, Thompson hopes to record some songs with McPherson as their time in high school draws to a close.
Thompson works just as hard on the academic front as he does with his music. “I would be up really late trying to do an assignment for one class and then realize I had something else after that,” he says of the infamous junior-year struggles. Thompson has been enjoying his difficult workload this year, taking on both AP Statistics and AP Calculus. He hopes to major in math (or music, of course) — hopefully at his “dream college,” Ithaca College, where he will apply Early Decision next month.
Thompson has plans for beyond a bachelor’s degree. “I know I want to be a teacher when I get out of college,” he says. He hopes to work with middle or high schoolers because of their maturity — although, he smirks, “Some older kids aren’t really that mature.”
Thompson’s teachers have inspired him throughout his time at the high school. He says he was fascinated by math teacher Kathryn Stewart’s approach to her subject, citing her enthusiasm for all math’s applications to practical life. He also admires band director Ralph Schroer. “If I were a music teacher,” he says, “I would want to be like him.”
It is unsurprising that Thompson wants to return to the New Paltz school district to fulfill his teaching dreams. He is impressed by the strength of the community and the passion of its educators.
Thompson, who is articulate about the learning process in today’s public-school climate, thnks his perspective will serve him well in pursuing education. “Lower your standards a bit,” he advises stressed-out students. “[You’ll] end up feeling so much better about high school and what [you] do.”
Thompson knows that music will always be a cornerstone of his life. “It was such a good feeling when I would do a drum solo,” he says, recalling football games, pep rallies and school concerts where he had the chance to flaunt his skills. He hopes to put more of the beats and lyrics in his head to use, and to play in a band in college.
“I just enjoy being in the spotlight,” he admits, smiling. “I try to view the future very optimistically.”