Jessica Austel, Warner Robins High Schools salutatorian, agrees with academic research that says young people who participate in music do better in school.
She started playing the piano at 5 years old.
Music is a big reason for why I am where I am with my academics, Austel said. It teaches you endurance, it teaches you rigor, and it teaches you discipline.
Planning to study chemistry at Middle Georgia State College before transferring to the University of Georgia to complete her bachelors degree, Austels goal is to become a physicians assistant. She said she wants to stay involved in music when she arrives in Athens.
Id like to join some of the choirs they have up there, maybe the womens glee club or an a capella group, she said.
Austel is the only student Warner Robins High chorus teacher Joy Dumas has ever taught that earned all-state chorus honors in four consecutive years.
She has an excellent ear, Dumas said. Shes an excellent musician. She sight reads beautifully.
Austels voice is sweet sounding, Dumas said.
You think of the opera singer with the horns and the big dramatic voice, and hers is not that, she said. Its what we call a lyrical voice that is very melodic and very pleasant to listen to.