Bright future

Handley's Taylor Marcum will study chemical engineering at the University of Alabama, with his eyes on becoming a surgeon.

When you look at Taylor Marcum’s application for the Bryant-Jordan scholarship it’s hard to believe it’s not made up. (Spoiler alert: It’s not.)

The Handley senior’s accomplishments are so far-reaching and multi-dimensional he makes the phrase “renaissance man” seem insufficient.

He’s the Handley valedictorian for the class of 2020. He scored over 30 on his ACT. He was elected as the school’s student government president, sang a solo in the Christmas chorus concert, played a stellar version of Marcellus Washburn in Handley’s performance of “The Music Man” and he handles distance running for the Handley track and cross country teams.

Now that he’s officially a Handley graduate he plans to major in chemical engineering at the University of Alabama, as a precursor to becoming a surgeon.

So it’s no wonder that Marcum was chosen as the Class 4A, Region 3 recipient for the Bryant-Jordan Scholar Athlete award, and the $3,000 in scholarship money that goes with it.

This week the Leader got Marcum on the phone and talked to him about all of these accomplishments (and a few other bonus topics).

On joining the track team

“At first I joined track really just because I wanted something to do. I was really just kind of bored and wanted some exercise. But I found out I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the practices, and running really became a hobby.”

On his theater experience

“Theater is a great bonding tool. It’s a great way to make friends and make memories, I’ve found. It’s really just a fun way to express yourself in an environment where everyone is supportive and working together.”

On studying chemical engineering

“Chemical engineering really came from the summer program that I went to last summer where we took a chemistry course at the University of Alabama, and I really enjoyed chemistry and the labs they do. And chemical engineering, there just a better job market for that than there is to just be a normal chemistry major. There’s not as many opportunities there.”

On his duties as SGA president

“I really wanted to be SGA president because I wanted to figure out what they actually did. I found out most of it was making announcements in the morning. I really didn’t want to listen to another year of boring morning announcements that sounded like Siri was talking to me over the intercom.”

On being the son of Roanoke City Schools Superintendent Chuck Marcum.

“Being the superintendent’s son is kind of an odd position. There’s always a pressure to do good. But your success, there’s always a portion of that that people attribute to you being the superintendent’s son, but your failures are all you.”

On having his senior year cut short due to the coronavirus

“It was definitely a shock. No one really expected to be in lock-up for the final part of our senior year. It’s really sad to think about it. None of us actually got a chance to say goodbye. The entire year feels like something unfinished. We never got to put a final close to anything. Everyone’s looking back, and no one knew that they were walking through the hallways and seeing each other for the last time.”

Marcum was recognized during the Bryant-Jordan ceremony Monday night. That ceremony was conducted remotely via broadcast on internet and local television due to coronavirus gathering restrictions.

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