Drew Davis shined on stage in lead roles with Red Oak High Theater and will soon be back in the spotlight to address his senior class as the valedictorian.
Davis took a seat in the front row of the Performing Arts Center — for a change — and recalled his high school career that consisted of rigorous AP courses, theater dreams and the way he found where he belonged in the world.
The senior hopes to incorporate all of his talents and interests into a potential dream job as a meteorologist.
"It's the perfect combination of everything that I love," Davis explained. "It's helping other people; it's a little theatrical getting in front of the camera, and it's science. It's the perfect triangle of all things that I love."
Davis will attend Texas A&M University to study meteorology and is currently considering a minor in oceanography. Eventually, he will obtain a master's degree and certainly sees a doctorate in his future.
The meteorology program is housed under the Department of Atmospheric Sciences within the College of Geosciences at TAMU.
The undergraduate meteorology program has an emphasis on weather and weather-related topics. In addition, the curriculum features courses in climatology, air quality, radar observations, remote sensing from satellites, cloud physics and computer applications. Coursework in physics, chemistry and mathematics are critical in the first two years.
In June 2018, Davis attended a geoscience camp at A&M that incorporated meteorology, geography and geology activities. He took advantage of that opportunity to establish relationships with professors and learn more about the program.
"It really felt like home. It's a community at A&M and I enjoy the people and the campus as well as the overall atmosphere," said Davis after he signed the signature Aggie thumbs up.
"What really set A&M aside is their undergraduate research program," he elaborated. "The undergrad students assist professors who travel with research. They have a really good meteorology study abroad program too."
Davis interpreted his research to be his contribution to the world.
His AP physics teacher, Eugene Caudill, has seen Davis advance through the curriculum and have a genuine interest in the topic.
"During Drew's junior year, while taking Advanced Placement Physics 1, he appeared to be challenged, yet extremely intrigued by the material covered within the course," Caudill explained. "He showed specific interest in Newton's laws of motion and their application."
He continued, "As the year continued, I noticed that his passion for physics grew beyond the scope of AP Physics 1 when I overheard him and his friends discussing various topics of modern physics, including quantum physics, black holes, and string theory."
Davis continued taking physics into his senior year and excelled in both AP Physics C: Mechanics and AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism.
There was not a particular storm, and it wasn't the tornado that hit Shields Elementary that piqued his interest in meteorology, but watching updates on the Weather Channel while a storm occurred outside the front door.
In the "weatherman" profession, Davis looks up to WFAA's Emmy award-winning chief meteorologist, Pete Delkus.
"I actually got off the phone with him yesterday," Davis shared. "I got his contact, and I'm going to the station this coming week. So I'm gonna meet Pete Delkus, which is pretty cool, and I'm going to meet the other meteorologists as well and ask them some questions about how to get in the field."
When asked about his strategy to balance his extracurricular activities, social life, and academia, Davis was almost at a loss for word, not exactly knowing how to explain the balance.
"I feel like I've put a lot of hard work into school and I've always really enjoyed learning and learning different abstract concepts such as physics and calculus," Davis said.
He attended tutorials in the morning and studied before class, and even noted he had an AP exam the following day.
"I definitely had to make the sacrifice of putting school, academics and extracurricular before my personal life," David elaborated. "It has definitely stressed in out in a way I feel overwhelmed sometimes, but I remember how lucky I am to be in the position I am."
When it came to taking care of his own mental health, Davis stumbled upon the verse Jeremiah 29:11 his freshmen year and found a new significance each year. Davis then proceeded to recite the biblical verse.
For him, it answered the questions, "Is there a plan out there?" "Is there something I'm working toward?" "Am I going to be successful?" "Is all this work going to pay off?"
As an underclassman, he struggled with who he was and where he fit into the social hierarchy on campus.
"I don't allow negativity to creep in on me and don't allow it to affect how you see the world. There's always more positives than negatives. The pros are always going to outweigh the cons, and if you look at life like that it's never going to let you down."
Davis expressed that is what he'd want to advise his younger self.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450