From a jump shot on the basketball court to a shout out from center stage in Anita DeFrancesca’s theater class, Harpeth High School salutatorian Grant Patterson is anchored by commitment to encouragement of others.
“Whether it’s theater or basketball or soccer, Grant is always the one that encourages and will be the example to show others what’s needed to step up,” said DeFrancesca. “He will always bring out the best in others because that’s his personality and his faith. He will never turn his back on somebody because his faith won’t let him do that. He gives of himself — not to a chosen few but to everybody. I have never seen him be rude or disrespectful to anyone.”
If you ask Patterson what he enjoys the most about theater, he will quickly respond with “being on stage with my friends.”
Patterson plans to attend Western Kentucky University’s Mahurin Honors College in Bowling Green, Ky. this fall.
“I plan to study premed,” he said.
He played basketball and soccer at HHS and was also the vice president of the National Honor Society and a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He has also participated in the theater department at Harpeth in multiple productions.
“These activities really helped me gain social skills that I will use for the rest of my life,” he said. “I’ve gained a good work ethic through these programs, and I have also made many friends with teachers, coaches, and classmates.”
HHS boys basketball coach Robert Kreps said he appreciates the talent and the positive attitude that Patterson brought to the program.
“Grant is the type of person that if he is on your team you feel like you always have a chance to win no matter the odds,” Kreps said. “He does life the right way. He is the classic ‘is there something you aren't good at?’ student-athlete. Lastly, Grant brings a life-giving atmosphere to the people he is around. You can usually find him with a smile on his face.”
Patterson said that he believes that the biggest challenge facing high-schoolers is being ready for the future.
“We don’t know what to expect in our future, but we just have to trust that everything will work out,” he said, with the pandemic as a prime example.
He said that the coronavirus hasn’t really affected him as much as it has affected his plans.
“Hopefully it will pass soon,” he said. “Not having large gatherings has definitely been a bummer at times, but we still plan to have graduation later on.”
He seems to constantly search out the positives in all situations.
“My hobbies are sports, hunting and fishing, anything active, and music” he said. “Not being at school has given me a lot more time to work, hunt, and fish. I’m glad I have been able to enjoy the outdoors. The toughest takeaway from all of this is not seeing my friends very often.”
He also appreciates the extra time his family has been able to spend together during the pandemic.
“My parents (Sanford and Angela Patterson) have especially enjoyed it since they know I am moving out soon, and they are happy to get to spend more time with me,” he said.
Some might be surprised by the response Patterson gives about the biggest highlight of his HHS experience.
“The highlight of my high school experience has to be living and growing up in this area,” he said. “Being in this small town during high school has allowed me to really be a part of the community here and form close bonds with my classmates and teachers.”
He had some advice for the HHS class of 2021.
“Upcoming seniors, enjoy every moment you get,” he said. “Us seniors were looking forward to graduating and getting out, but now that it has been cut short, I’ve realized how much I’m already missing it. I’d do a lot to get those last few weeks of senior year back, so always cherish the time with your friends, with sports, with your activities, because it’ll be all over sooner than later. Take advantage of every opportunity you get to do something new and exciting, and make the most of high school.”
Editor’s Note: The titles for articles about Grant Patterson and Cadiz Cantwell were incorrectly listed in the print edition this week of the Cheatham County Exchange. Patterson is the salutatorian and Cantwell is the valedictorian.