Mason Windham

Redwater High School

When Mason Windham graduates from Redwater High School this year, he will walk across the stage as the Salutatorian of his class, a feat that makes him proud. “I am honored to hold this title, and it’s just another way that my hard work has paid off,” Mason says. “I wouldn’t say that I chased this honor, but when I found out how close I was at the end of freshman year, I had a new wave of motivation.”

After graduation, Mason plans to attend Northwestern State University and major in music business. “I want to improve as a musician and work for a major music corporation,” Mason says. “Other potential occupations include designing marching shows or owning a music shop.”

Mason’s academic potential and love of music were supported and encouraged by the band directors, teachers, and coaches at Redwater High School. “They always had my back in all my endeavors,” Mason says. “The Redwater High School staff is phenomenal and knowledgeable. I always ask my counselor, teachers, and principals for advice and opinions because I trust their judgment, and I know they want the best for me.”

Redwater ISD also provided Mason many opportunities through clubs and organizations that helped hone his skills and passions. He has served on the class officer team, National Honor Society, and Key Club, where he learned to find joy and humility in volunteering. “I love serving beside my classmates,” Mason says. “Through Key Club, I have also learned that I can always help in some way, even if I feel that I won’t be of use.”

As a freshman, Mason joined the powerlifting team because he thought it looked “cool.” However, through the experience, Mason learned how powerful mental blocks can be. “Through the four years, most of my failed lifts were because I didn’t believe in myself and focus on my form,” Mason says. “I know this because I succeeded almost every time I tried again if I was confident.”

Mason also joined the Spanish Honor Society to further his love of learning the Spanish language and culture. He joined Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) because of encouragement from his family and consumer sciences teacher. “From FCCLA, I learned that there are other communities you could never learn about. When I went to my first FCCLA competition, I was amazed by how many people were there for a club I had just heard about,” Mason says. “From then on, I have never thought of a club or extracurricular to be unimportant, no matter how little I knew about it.”

Of all his activities, Mason is most involved with the high school band due to his true passion for music. He started in the sixth-grade band and will continue in band throughout college. “Band has taught me that practice does not make perfect, but growing brings confidence and pride in myself. I have also learned that I thrive when I am in a leadership role and serving the band,” Mason says. “I also joined Jazz Band. At first, it was simply a class period filler, but I also learned to explore my instruments and take musical liberty in the pieces I play.”

Mason says that even though he has had a lot of performances, competitions, and concerts, his parents, Matt and Stephanie Windham, always support him and try to attend as many of his events as possible. “My parents and older brother, Seth, have always been there for me,” Mason says. “My parents are attentive to my grades and do their best to hold me to a high standard. They listen to my rants whenever I get overwhelmed and ensure that I’m mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.”

Mason’s parents know him well. Recently, Mason’s dad, Matt, pointed out an interesting observation about his son. “He made me aware that when I have free time, I fill the new time slot quickly. For example, as soon as school let out last year, I had already put together a band of my own. 

I was planning rehearsals and finding sheet music like there was no tomorrow,” Mason says. “Another example is when the marching season was over, and I was waiting for the powerlifting season to start, I put together an ultimate frisbee game with full teams. I tried to continue the ‘league’ afterward, but the race of extracurriculars and study nights began again. I plan to fill this summer with more Poolside performances, ultimate frisbee games, instrumental practicing, and cardio and calisthenic workouts.” 

Poolside band is Mason’s friend group’s band that plays throughout the Texarkana community. “It is very difficult to organize during the school year, but it is always a great experience. We have performed for Wadley, Cornerstone, New Boston’s Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army, Saint Micheal’s, Redwater High School, Redwater Key Club, and friends and family,” Mason says, “We will continue to perform as much as possible until we all go our separate ways into college.”

Even though Mason constantly stays busy and thinks ahead to the next big thing, he remains grounded through his faith. “Recently, I’ve learned that when you put your relationship with God first and pursue Him in your daily life, the challenges of your personal objectives begin to only build you up rather than tearing you down, no matter the degree of success or failure,” Mason says. “I started attending READY, and I have learned that there is always someone seeking the Lord and wanting to learn more about the relationship between our creator and us. Seeing students gather for a common purpose that doesn’t involve their recognition and success brings me much joy.”

Mason also grows his faith outside of school by attending church. On Wednesdays, Mason attends Redwater First Baptist Church. “At Redwater First Baptist Church, I am always learning and growing in my relationship with God. Every Wednesday, I feel welcomed and refreshed,” Mason says. “I am also beginning to meet with classmates on certain mornings for Bible studies and daily devotionals.”

On Sundays, Mason attends Heritage Church, where he serves as the director and assistant director of the camera crew. “On a full day, we have six individual cameras that I am in charge of directing through our headsets,” Mason says. “Each Sunday morning, I attend the worship team’s practice and take notes,” Mason says. “When the service starts, I either work as the assistant director and read the notes to the crew and the director, or I work as the director and use the notes while instructing the crew.”

Through his experiences, Mason has learned that it is important not to base your identity on something temporary, no matter how glorifying and rewarding it feels. “If you are a track star or a ‘straight-A’ student, be proud of yourself. But there is more to accomplishing something than adding it to a resume. Achievements, failures, and trials build character,” Mason says, “As I like to say, ‘Don’t work hard TO get somewhere in life; work hard AND get somewhere.’ Work hard for your best interests and future, and challenge yourself by putting 100% of your efforts towards achieving a goal.” 

Though sometimes high school graduation can feel like an ending, Mason knows there are many more opportunities for growth ahead. Though he is honored to walk the stage with a ribbon on his neck reading “Salutatorian,” he is more proud of himself for understanding that his rank is not of lasting importance. “I thank God for giving me the ability to succeed in my schoolwork and extracurricular activities. I only hope that I have and will continue to show God’s love through the way I live my life,” Mason says. “I also want to thank my family and teachers for always wanting the best for me.

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