The four-year high school experience at MC has helped shape another outstanding sundevil, senior Josh Churchill. His choices these past years ultimately began with an initial interest in staying active as a child.
“I played a lot of different sports just kind of getting a feel for all of them [when I was younger],” Churchill said. “Soccer, tennis– mainly tennis– which I continued in high school. Playing video games was a big hobby of mine. Staying with the trends and playing video games all up to now led to my inspiration for college, character animation.”
Of course, no one can forget their influential roots.
“The Pokemon series was a big staple in my childhood,’ Churchill said. “My favorite would have to be Pokemon Pearl.”
Adventures in band
Churchill’s active mind led him to another interest in middle school that has remained an important focus of his life.
“In fifth grade I picked up playing a musical instrument, but I hadn’t taken it seriously until reaching high school,” Churchill said. “I spend a lot of time doing that, probably as much as I spend playing video games and animating.”
His instrument origin story stems from one fateful night five years ago.
“My seventh grade year I was at Black Mountain [Middle School] and there was eighth grade night where the middle schoolers in advanced band could come up to MC and play on the marching band instruments and see what one of their Wednesday night practices looks like,’ Churchill said.
A little inspiration from unexpected companions pushed Churchill into further pursuing his instrument.
“I got to come up and the seniors were all giant dudes and I was super tiny and they were like, ‘oh you want to play sousaphone?’ and I’m like, ‘sure,’ and they all of a sudden pull this huge hunk of metal out of a case. I’m like, ‘oh that’s a sousaphone.’ They put it on me and it almost crushed me. I didn’t know how it worked and it was just this big thing of metal on me.”
His special experience with MC’s band left him with a positive impression of the program.
“I remember having the best time of my life carrying a huge hunk of metal on my shoulder for an hour and a half and then being able to do that again my eighth grade year and finally my freshman year being able to pick it up every day,” Churchill said. “It carried into me playing sousaphone for my four years at MC.”
A long-time goal seems to be closer in sight with Churchill’s years of experience with MC’s band.
“I’ve always had the dream of marching in the Rose Parade as a sousaphone since I was really little,” Churchill said. “I would watch the Rose Parade on TV and see the big shiny objects and say, ‘what’s that?’ It was the sousaphone. That’s why I started playing music in fifth grade, playing baritone. As soon as middle school rolled around I got the chance to play the tuba, and I thought, that’s my best shot of getting to a rose parade in the future. It’s all leading up to hopefully reaching that dream one day.”
While his hope of reaching this goal is one driving factor in continuing to play, so are the perks of being a part of MC’s band.
“The great community of people I get to see every day [is one reason I continue to play] because there are so many friends I’ve met through the program and friends that don’t even go here who know of MC’s program,” Churchill said. “They’re like, ‘You play this instrument? We love your band,’ and you see them at tournaments. The biggest thing is the outreach of people that have always been so positive and so in love with the program that’s kept my enthusiasm fueled through all the years.”
Churchill sticks to his passion regardless of the barriers in the way of any dedicated student’s success.
“One of the most challenging things is the time commitment,” Churchill said. “There’s a lot of time you need to put in if you want to become a good musician: lots of practicing, lot of rehearsals, especially since I’m in the pep band and the orchestra. I have pep band rehearsals after schools on Fridays and then every Tuesday I also have orchestra rehearsal for two hours. A lot of my week is dedicated to practicing my instrument, playing all these different pieces and different styles of music.”
After all the time that must be sacrificed, in the end Churchill cannot say he regrets putting his energy into MC band.
“I will say that it’s more than worth it. I love it so much,” Churchill said.
Another event that has influenced Churchill’s future endeavors is his sparked interest in computer animation.
“My junior year I was put into Intro to Engineering and Design and I didn’t know what that class was. I went to the Sun Center to see what classes were offered and Animation One was available so I’m like, I’ve always kind of liked that stuff, let’s try it out,” Churchill said.
This quick schedule change evoked a fresh inspiration in Churchill.
“The first day I get into class I’m sat down next to a computer and a bunch of guys of all different grades and different experiences. The first thing we hear is help the person next to you figure out what is going on. I’m moving mouses like crazy and typing stuff and we were just building snowmen, seeing how the basic software works and the whole time I have our animation teacher, Mr. Harris, helping throughout, encouraging us to make it our own while still being able to get the basic structure down. His encouragement especially was a big inspiration for me to continue it and also pursue it as a major in college,” Churchill said.
This random chance class will continue to influence Churchill for years.
“The goal, the dream is to become a character animator for either Pixar or Disney,” Churchill said. “Preferably Pixar. They just have such a big reputation and such a great possibility for animators, especially now that it’s a growing job. It would be so amazing to have that job and be a part of the films they create.”
As this sundevil prepares to move on from all he has accomplished at MC, students can expect to see his name rolling in some movie credits in the future.
Churchill has worked to make the most of his time at MC, and one way he did this was through his involvement in the Mr. Sundevil show.
“Initially getting into Mr. Sundevil, it was kind of a peer pressure thing,” Churchill said. “My friends heard about it on the broadcast and were like, ‘you should totally do it.’ So I went to the first meeting to see what it was about. Next thing I know I’m going to every meeting and getting all the information I can, preparing and getting super excited for it,” Churchill said.
The contest that tests male seniors’ abilities in pop culture knowledge, dancing, and performance left the contestants with unforgettable memories.
“The overall experience was amazing. There was a great group of guys from all different backgrounds. Especially in the last couple of rehearsals when we went through our talents, being able to laugh with them behind the scenes and really enjoy the experience more than I could even dream of made it that much more worth it.”
His decision to take part and ultimately be crowned in the competition would have surprised even himself years ago.
“I wouldn’t think I would be doing this as a senior freshman year. My sisters were here, they were like Mr. Sundevil is a fun competition but you mostly see football jocks or sporty athletes doing it. You never see people from the arts program or anything like that. Come senior year and my friends were encouraging me to do it, and I thought, this is pretty cool, since there are only three of us involved in the arts programs in the actual competition this is so much more fun to compete against these guys,” Churchill said.
Involvements aside, senior year is quickly coming to a close, and for Churchill, this means reflecting on what has meant the most to him during his time at MC.
“I’m going to miss the band so much,” Churchill said. “They’ve done so much for me. Even before being a freshman, I already felt apart of the family from their visits to middle school and incorporating me into their routine helped me feel ingrained in their family. That’s why I’m trying to pursue marching band in college because it’s just so much fun.”
Programs and subjects can greatly influence an individual’s choices, and even more so with an encouraging leader at the activity’s head.
“Another big thing I’ll miss [after graduating] is a lot of the teachers,” Churchill said. “They’re just so positive and optimistic about everything. For example, Mr. Bird and Ms. Talle are super upbeat and super happy. They have such a great time. There have been experiences in classes that have made high school so memorable and helped me realize what I want to eventually do.”
Churchill’s discovery of what he finds most enjoyable reflects his view on what an individual should look for in life.
“Living is about finding experiences in your life that not only make you happy but also give you a memory you can look back upon later in your life and say, ‘this is why I do what I do.’ Not just a job or something, in general just being able to do anything on a daily basis and say, ‘I love that I did this.’ Taking any moment in life and saying, ‘this is why I’m me.’”
For Churchill, his life can best be described by a seemingly simple yet complex tasting food.
“I like a chocolate croissant because on the outside you see a pastry and you’re like, ‘ooh this is something that will be great.’ Then, you get to the inside and it’s nice and sweet and you can enjoy it for what it is and you always know it’s going to have that acquired taste you love,” Churchill said.
What the MC community has to say:
“Josh is just the friendliest guy I know,” senior Abby Prager said. “He’s not afraid to go out and meet new people. Whoever he meets and talks to he’s always just the nicest guy and really cares about everyone.”
“Josh is a very caring and helpful person,” senior Aiden Sauer said.
“Josh is the nicest, kindest person you could ever have as a friend. He’s always thinking of others. He never seems sad and he’s always happy and doing nice things for others. He’s always finding new ways to help out the band. He’s amazing,” senior Nicole Valdez said.
“He’s really involved with the school, he cares about the school a lot, especially the arts programs. He really wants to get involved: he doesn’t just sit around. He tries to give everyone around him the best possible experience he can. His energy is infectious,” senior Hailey Lange said.
“Josh has a lot of good characteristics. He’s very kind, he’s funny, he’s hard-working, talented and just an overall well-rounded guy. Even when people don’t know him, anyone he meets in class and other activities he does, he always brings a smile to their faces,” senior Hannah Wong said.
Get to know Josh:
Favorite fruit: mango
Favorite artist: Picasso
Favorite clothing accessory: watch
Favorite color: green
Favorite location in the world: San Francisco
Dogs or cats: dogs
Pepperoni or cheese: pepperoni
Cake or pie: cake