Engineered to pursue career

Earning the top spot in his class required sacrifices, including time with friends.

But his scholarship to Purdue University made all the homework hours and hard work worthwhile, Edinburgh Community High School valedictorian Braden Buck said.

When it came to getting good grades in school, Buck, 18, said he had to push himself to do well.

He has technical blood in his genes. His dad, Dana, is a spinning engineer at Enkei America, where Buck also has a part-time job; and his mom is an inspector at Electro-Spec. It’s likely Buck will do well in college in his chosen major of physics, but just to make things interesting, he may throw in a double major of robotics engineering, he said.

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But the teen may have surpassed his parents. The times his mom and dad tried helping with him with his homework in high school, they were stumped, Buck said.

“It’s the thought that counts,” he said, smiling.

School wasn’t hard for Buck. He would ask questions in class when he needed to. But one main challenge was in his higher-level math courses, memorizing the formulas, because there are so many, he said.

Buck spent about an hour or two doing homework most days.

“I would have liked to spend more time with my friends,” he said.

He did have fun competing on Edinburgh’s academic teams for math, science and interdisciplinary studies.

He also was a participant in the service organization Lancers Lending a Hand, and did separate volunteer work as well, putting in hours at a local food pantry, the alumni association and at Johnson Memorial Hospital. He also is a member of National Honor Society.

For students who want to do well in school and earn top grades, Buck said it’s critical to focus and manage time well. Even when something is a challenge, it’s critical to put the time into trying to understand it. Get to homework right away after school and try listening to relaxing music to increase focus, he said.

Students often start falling behind when their self-motivation drops and they don’t care anymore and stop trying, he said.

Edinburgh Community High School Valedictorian

Name: Braden Buck

Age: 18

School: Edinburgh Community High School

GPA: 4.37

Parents’ names: Melissa Buck and Dana Buck

College: Purdue University; majoring in physics

Author photo
Anna Herkamp is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2712.