James Madison Senior, SAM, Talks Government and Music Life

Sam is a caring, passionate, hard-working young man. Sam is involved in his student government, choir, rock band, school plays, and musicals. He loves to talk about world history and politics and also tutors elementary students in math.

Q. What is your role in student government? Do you feel you’ve learned skills for the future?

A. At James Madison I have been in the Senate for four years, where we essentially passed legislation from the House of Representatives. My first few years taught me how the Senate body actually held plenty of power and checked over more than just spelling of the bills. It was not until this year, where I was elected President pro tempore, that I was able to exercise the full powers of the Senate and student government as a whole. We decided that we needed to amend the school constitution, so the Senate took the lead throughout the process. I learned from this process the skills of negotiating with people, as well as debating. Working in the Senate taught me how to see connections between smaller details and hold my work to a higher, more professional standard.

Q. You are also a musician can you tell us about the role of music in your life?

A. I am currently involved in multiple musical groups, I have an out of school band which I play with regularly as well as an in-school rock band and show choir. I wanted to join so many groups because I wanted to have some fun, and I liked the challenge of multiple groups. Music however, has always been a large part of my life. I grew up playing piano for a few years before trying some violin. I found most success in the former, as I started to get distracted by other things in my life. I played the trumpet for a year but didn’t stick with it. I had always loved music and could never stop listening to it no matter what I was doing. It seems strange than that I did not pick up any kind of instrument. At these times I had not found the motivation or something that truly spoke to me, that is, until I started playing guitar. I started off rather slow and stopped for a while but I eventually came back to it. I began feeling an urge to do more than sit around listening to music. I had and still have too much energy. I wanted to do something and it had to be crazy, fast, and loud. So there it was, sitting under my bed. A solid six string and a little amp with a lot of gain and after a few hours I was hooked. Yes, I had plinked around a few years earlier but I had neither desire nor passion at those times. I was lucky enough that I had close friends who had also picked up various musical instruments, as well as a school band. Pretty soon I was competent enough to perform live for other people. Playing live is by far my favorite part. The enjoyment the audience gets and their energy is what I like best and gives me the most happiness.

Q. What is your favorite song/band?

A. A difficult question. I could never name the same band if you asked me once a week for a year. I don’t have a specific favorite but the artists that have been on my playlists the most are anywhere from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughan to David Bowie and Yes. A song for each band respectively: Taste the Pain, The Dance of Eternity, Dogs, Scuttle Buttin, Ashes to Ashes, and Long Distance Runaround.

Q. What’s next after James Madison Prep?

A. I plan on attending college somewhere in this side of the United States, unless I am lucky enough to get admitted somewhere farther away. I would love to see more of the world, but I also want to go farther with music and the band I am in. I am still unsure about what career or degree to pursue, likely something in History, Literature, or an Art like Music.

Sam Schlick is a senior at James Madison Preparatory School

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