At Baton Rouge High, while students are learning, they are also learning to be leaders. Whether in the classrooms, on the playing fields or performance stages, each student has opportunities to realize their goals, fulfill their passions and lead the way for the next generation of bulldogs.
We shine the leadership spotlight on Baton Rouge High School senior, Erina Buchholz
Erina is a 2018 Presidential Scholar. She was also named Student of the Year for both the school and East Baton Rouge Parish. With a schedule full of Advanced Placement classes, she still manages to find time to play with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra as their youngest member.
What made you decide to attend BRHS?
I wanted to challenge myself in high school and be surrounded by a diverse and impressive student body. The amount and variety of academic and extracurricular opportunities offered by BRHS really amazed me, and I knew I wanted to attend.
What classes and extracurricular activities are you involved in at BRHS?
This year, I am taking AP Spanish IV, AP Music Theory, AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus BC, AP English Literature, AP World History, and Advanced Orchestra. I am the concertmaster of the Advanced Orchestra as well as the Talented Music Orchestra, president and service project coordinator of the National Honor Society, and executive board member of Mu Alpha Theta.
What do you consider your major accomplishments?
Academically, I have been named BRHS and EBR Student of the Year, National Merit Finalist, Presidential Scholar candidate, and AP International Diploma recipient. I also was named a National AP Scholar by earning the highest possible score of a 5 on each of the 10 AP exams I have taken.
Musically, I have performed as a soloist with the Acadiana Symphony and the Louisiana Youth Orchestra and have won prizes in several local and regional competitions, most recently the Music Teachers National Association competition and the Gulf Coast Steinway Society competition. I was named the concertmaster of the Louisiana All-State Orchestra for all four years of high school. Finally, winning the highest available position in the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section at age 16 is probably one of my proudest accomplishments.
I am also overjoyed and extremely lucky to have been offered the Wells Scholarship at Indiana University, a full ride scholarship which covers tuition, living expenses, and a yearlong study abroad stipend. I am thrilled about the prospect of continuing my musical studies at the amazing Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, especially with the support of such an incredible scholarship program.
What does it mean to you to be named the Student of the Year for both BRHS and EBR?
I feel incredibly privileged to have been named the Student of the Year at both the school and parish levels. The fact that the BRMHS administration entrusted me with this honor is very encouraging to me, and I am excited that I was able to bring my school well-deserved recognition by winning at the parish level as well.
What made you decide to join the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra? How has joining this organization helped you to grow?
My violin teacher, Dr. Borislava Iltcheva, is the concertmaster of the symphony, and she asked me if I wanted to audition. I absolutely love orchestra and have been attending Baton Rouge Symphony concerts since I was around five years old. I wanted to learn more symphonic repertoire, so I took the audition in August of 2017 and won a position in the first violin section. It has been so inspiring, humbling, and exciting to play amongst my current and former teachers in the symphony. I have learned a lot about how efficiently professional orchestras must rehearse, as well as how to learn lots of new, often challenging repertoire in very short periods of time.
What have been your biggest challenges at BRHS so far?
Prioritizing has by far been my biggest challenge. As an aspiring violinist, I need many hours of daily practice, so balancing that with my often heavy AP coursework can be a challenge. I have certainly had to make difficult sacrifices in other areas of my life to make up for the amount of time I must dedicate to the violin and to my academics.
What are some of your best memories from your 4 years here?
My fondest memories are going to New York City twice with the orchestra, attending choir concerts and school theatre performances, and simply talking and laughing with my outgoing, unique, and amazing friends during lunch or class.
Do you have any favorite teachers? Which ones and what makes these teachers stand out?
I have truly had the most wonderful teachers during my four years at BRMHS; a few that I am especially grateful for are Ms. Kirkpatrick, Ms. Willis, Mr. Donald, Ms. O’Dell, Mr. Dobbyn, and Mr. Frazier. Ms. Kirkpatrick is genuinely one of the kindest people I have ever met, and her compassion, humility, and willingness to understand other perspectives constantly inspires me to be better. Ms. Willis improved my writing and rhetoric beyond what I ever thought possible, and her dedication to empathy and justice inside and outside the classroom is amazing. Mr. Donald is such an energetic and engaging teacher who appreciates each of his students for who they are, and he has gone out of his way to help me in countless instances. Ms. O’Dell is so savvy and a truly remarkable teacher in that she can explain even the most complex math so clearly and approachably. Mr. Dobbyn is very understanding of my life outside of school, on top of being so engaging, respectful, and immensely knowledgeable on history. Mr. Frazier has entrusted me with a tremendous amount of responsibility in the orchestra, for which I am honored and grateful. His dedication to music education is very rare, and I will miss his orchestra class dearly.
What plans/goals do you have for your future, after graduation from BRHS?
I plan to study violin performance at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University on a full ride Wells Scholarship. I aspire to become a professional violinist and pursue the highest level of music making possible.
Do you have any tips for underclassmen and incoming freshmen on how to be successful at BRHS?
Participate in the things you are most passionate about even if they will not necessarily bring you the most recognition. Value your friendships and your relationships with your teachers. Make an effort to understand the world around you and widen your perspective. Remember that being an engaging, passionate, and kind person is far more important than any high GPA or test scores.