In elementary school, Gaige Rainwater didn’t always have the clearest handwriting.
Sometimes, it cost him top grades in that subject.
“I had issues writing and making it legible,” he said. “So I got B’s in handwriting.”
He’s had no B’s since.
A straight-A student from middle school on, Rainwater is the salutatorian of Indian Creek High School’s class of 2016.
President of the senior class’ National Honor Society and a four-year participant in bands and theater, Rainwater graduates with a 4.552 grade-point average.
His top subjects are math and science. His college plan is to attend Purdue University and double major in theoretical physics and aeronautical engineering.
His career goal is to design spacecraft for NASA or aircraft for Boeing.
“My academics, I would always place first because I just always liked being challenged academically,” Rainwater said.
A few grade-school Bs for handwriting notwithstanding, Rainwater has largely been a straight-A student throughout school. Even when his written words weren’t entirely legible, he still thoroughly knew his subjects.
And the harder the subject, the better his grades.
“I just always liked being challenged academically,” Rainwater said. “I always felt I could push myself harder than what I was doing at the time.”
A multi-tasker throughout high school with multiple interests, Rainwater participated in winter guard for three years and marching band all four years. A percussionist, he plays — among other mallet instruments — marimba and xylophone.
He also participated in theater for four years and was a member of the science and math academic teams his junior and senior years.
Although he always excelled academically, he didn’t view schoolwork as a challenge until middle school. Mostly, it was because the work came easily.
So he sought tougher challenges, then pushed himself to achieve at the highest level.
“As school progressed and it kept feeling that it was kind of easy for me, I felt like I should probably try harder and become more intelligent,” Rainwater said. “It was about eighth grade or freshman year that I really felt like I could be challenged more, because I started out not being in any of the honors classes.”
“I felt like I could easily move up to the honors classes at that point.”
Rainwater not only moved up to advanced classes, he excelled in each throughout high school.
“I really like science and math,” Rainwater said. “I really liked chemistry in high school, and physics this year has been a really great class for me, too.”
Although he relishes academic challenges, Rainwater isn’t a fan of all schoolwork.
A perfectionist, he doesn’t like tackling topics that have nebulous outcomes or are open to interpretation, as is sometimes the case with English assignments.
But no matter the subject, he always found a path to an A. Or in most cases, an A-plus.
Whether he always enjoyed finding the path is another story.
“It would be a stretch to say, ‘enjoy,’ because it depends on the schoolwork, really,” Rainwater said. “Sometimes the schoolwork I do enjoy, but if it feels like the project doesn’t really tie together, well, it’s kind of a stretch to say, ‘enjoy.’”
Name: Gaige Rainwater
Parents: Randy and Gwen Rainwater
College: Purdue Univesity
Major: Double major in theoretical physics and aeronautical engineering
Career goal: Work for NASA or Boeing and design spacecraft or aircraft