EPISD Student Spotlight: Daniel Anderson, Franklin High
(FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Nov. 15, 2021) — Franklin senior Daniel Anderson discovered his passion for horses and agriculture early on, and already is setting up his future as an attorney advocating for ranching and farming communities. Daniel, a medical magnet pathway student who is among the top 5 percent of his class, also is passionate about fine arts. He plays the guitar and sings, and melds both of his passions by writing country music songs. Community Engagement sat down with him virtually to feature him in this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight.
EPISD: What are some of your accomplishments/achievements in school?
DANIEL ANDERSON: I've received a well-rounded education as a student at EPISD, from my elementary education at Rosa Guerrero Elementary, Brown Middle and Franklin High where I focus on the medical magnet pathway. I've always been a Fine Arts student at heart, I started as an art student having my first solo art exhibit of large-scale abstract paintings at the Medical Center of the Americas when I was in middle school. I participated in theatre, choir and orchestra performances but my true passion in the fine arts has been my consistent growth as a musician under the guitar program at Franklin. Also, the medical pathway at Franklin has prepared me to achieve Patient Care Technician certification at the end of this school year, a valuable skill to have as I transition into college.
EPISD: Fine arts seem to be a big part of your achievements. Tell us about your interest in the arts.
DA: Since I can remember, I have always been involved with the arts – I feel like I have been drawing and painting my whole life. Expressing myself through the arts has allowed me to work through good times and challenging times. I decided to join theatre in middle school under Mr. Stokes’ direction, and I discovered my love for performing. At Franklin, I learned to play guitar under the direction of Mr. Schydlower and Mr. Schyga where I understood how to fuse my love of performing, with my love of music. With this opportunity, I have written many original music and have been lucky enough to perform in different venues in town.
EPISD: Your YouTube channel does a great job showcasing your singing talent. What do you like to sing and what is your inspiration for writing songs?
DA: Singing and performing my original songs, is something I hold very dear to me. My biggest inspiration when writing my own songs comes from my love for ranching, the beauty of the land, caring for horses, and my love for country music. I would say that Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash are my biggest musical influences. Many have told me that I have and old soul, but I remind them that good music is not confined by time. I have performed recently at the Edge of Texas with Tim Thompson, and at La Havana Bar and Grill with Neal McCowan.
EPISD: Moving on to another passion of yours, tell us about your work with horses and equine therapy?
DA: I started volunteering at Rancho Escondido Therapeutic Riding five years ago when I was a middle school student. I went from learning how to ride as beginning student and with lots years of practice and perseverance, I became an advanced rider and junior trainer. I am most proud of my work, when I am able to assist riding students with special needs who flourish under the horseback riding therapeutic program at the ranch. I work every week at the ranch feeding and cleaning stalls for horses as well as helping with facilities upkeep. There is nothing more challenging and rewarding than working with horses and livestock, my love for animals has taught me many valuable things in life such as hard work, patience, and kindness.
Also, I love to compete in rodeos and horsemanship events. I recently found out that I was selected as a Heisman High School Scholarship recipient for my placements in equestrian competitions and regional events.
EPISD: Congratulations on being accepted to Texas Tech University. What does it mean to you to receive the Presidential Merit Award Scholarship? What do you plan to major in and what are your career aspirations?
DA: It means the world to me to be the recipient of the Texas Tech Presidential Merit Award Scholarship for four consecutive years. At Texas Tech University, I plan to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science with a focus on business and production. As a graduate student, I plan to enroll at the Texas Tech Law School and pursue a graduate degree in Agriculture Law where I can advocate for the ranching and farming community as well as managing my own ranch.
EPISD: How have you been preparing for college?
DA: Franklin offers many Pre AP, AP, Dual Credit and On Ramps classes that has prepared me academically for college. Also, I have been working at Rancho Escondido for many years as a junior riding trainer, and as a math and guitar tutor for beginning students where I try to save up as much as possible for college. I hustle and apply for many scholarships on the weekends, hoping I can supplement my college expenses in the fall.
EPISD: What do you look forward to in your senior year?
DA: In my senior year, I look forward to competing in the Guitar UIL event where our quartet will hopefully place and move to the state competition. I am excited to compose new music and perform in different venues in town, I am looking forward to competing in regional rodeos and spend time with my friends and with my girlfriend Victoria Armendariz.
EPISD: What advice would you give incoming freshman?
DA: My advice to incoming freshman would be to organize your time so you can get all of your academic schoolwork done. I have seen many students overwhelmed with accumulated homework, who drown and fall behind easily. So, stay ahead of your assignments and be an active learner, procrastinating will only create more anxiety in your life.
EPISD: Anything you’d like to add?
DA: I want to give a big shout out to all of my teachers from elementary to high school who took the time and patience to educate me. I hope I made you proud!
Check out his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0nVgQ6ZVImZpOn5Zvw14aA