Senior profile: Justin Battle

Missouri State University, Marketing and Music Education

Benji Wilton, features writer

After spending the day walking through decorated halls and preparing for Turkey Day festivities, Justin Battle, senior, anxiously watches students and staff file into the David Holley Assembly Hall. For him and the rest of the drumline, playing in front of the ecstatic crowd is their shining moment. On the center of the gym floor, all eyes are on this passionate group of percussionists. For Battle, as soon as he strikes his snare drum he is entranced by the power of the music.

“Playing music can move you in different ways no matter what kind of piece you play,” Battle said. “It moved me in a type of way no other activity really did.”

Since fifth grade, Battle has encountered a wide variety of sounds and instruments percussion has to offer while receiving help from mentors along the way. These days, he is playing the role of mentor to many younger band students, including middle schoolers and freshman. According to Andrew Edmonds, KSD percussion instructor, Battle has stepped up as a huge leader in the band program.

“[Justin] is an all-star role model,” Edmonds said. “He’s the epitome of what every band student should be.”

One of only two seniors on drumline this year, Battle had big shoes to fill in a leadership role. According to Lilly Anderson, freshman and percussionist on drumline, Battle made the transition from middle school a lot easier for her and other freshmen.

“When you first meet him, you can tell that he is so kind and really welcoming,” Anderson said. “It was definitely a big help coming into the high school.”

While band remains his primary focus, Battle helped administer the KYS canned food drive in the fall, and has been involved with track and field throughout his time in high school. Always striving to improve, Battle shows extreme dedication according to his peers.

“After track practice the other day, [Justin] got [to leave] early,” Anderson said. “He could have gone home, but he went to the band room and started practicing for his next audition.”

Next year, Battle will be attending Missouri State University, where he will major in marketing along with studying music education. While he is looking forward to what the future will bring, Battle acknowledges that experiences in the KHS band program are ones he will not forget.

“The community of our band is very powerful,” Battle said. “It’s really incredible and I’m glad I got to experience it in high school.”