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One of his best high school experiences was one Cameron Smock joined on a whim.

As a football and basketball player, Smock had never considered band. In order to fit it into his schedule, he gave up his lunch period.

Since he had never really played much music, he was behind his classmates in the music program at Roncalli High School. But he stayed with it.

“That was out of my comfort zone,” he said. “I wasn’t very good at it, but it’s been fun. I was as nervous for competition than I’d been for any sport events.”

Experiences like that have prepared Smock for his next challenge — attending the University of Alabama with the hopes of earning a medical degree. He will share salutatorian honors this year with classmate Emily Elliott.

“It’s a really big honor to share this with Emily and something I never was expecting,” he said.

Though he had gotten good grades throughout high school, Smock wasn’t expecting to be one of the top two or three students in the class. So when they called him out of class to discuss it, confusion set in.

“I was shocked. I actually told people I was relieved that I didn’t have to worry about, stressing at the end of the year,” he said.

Biology, chemistry and calculus were Smock’s favorite courses because he loved the way the studies had evolved and changed over time.

History and English are important subjects but are for the most part not vibrant. There are only so many ways to make Shakespeare, Steinbeck and the Civil War fresh, Smock said.

“But science is constantly making strides. If that was an area I pursued, I could do research and make more strides in that field. That’s interesting to me,” Smock said.

Smock is excited to start college but said he’ll miss high school.

Practicing football and basketball with his teammates, working with other members of the student council and helping younger students through the Promise To Keep club all stand out.

Some of his favorite memories were the frantic, chaotic, energized pep rallies before the big games. He remembers the first time he sat in the gym, with music blaring and cheers going up and the student body going crazy. It’s a scene that embodies everything he liked best about Roncalli, he said.

“It really summed up the spirit and the camaraderie and the familiarity and the family sense of this school,” he said.

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