Samuel Reese- 2022 DHS Valedictorian


Torin Steil, Staff Writer

Hey everyone,

My name is Sam Reese, and I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider when it comes to

Decatur. Most everyone I know here has lived in Decatur their whole lives and have lifelong friends that they’ve always known. I, however, have not. I lived in Azle, Texas for 13 years of my life and loved it there. I thought my whole life was going to go astray when I moved here and had no friends to lean on. When I came to Decatur in 8th grade, I felt really lost for about 2 or 3 months before I finally found my footing and saw some stability again. I found some amazing friends and we’ve kept a group chat together ever since we met. 

I remember being so scared freshman year when I could still barely speak a word to anyone outside of my close friend group. One day, I was talking to one of the seniors in band who happened to be my section leader. She told me that everything gets better once you get out of your shell a little bit and she was right. So now, as I write this letter to the student body, I will tell you the same thing that she told me years ago. Let loose a little. Have fun. Make memories with the people you love. This time in high school flies fast. For me, it’s now over and I can’t help but wish I did more. Take your time and enjoy it.

 I’ve made some amazing memories since I’ve been here. From playing in the band, to the school flooding, and even the stressful nights of finishing homework at 3 a.m. Decatur has now been my home for 5 years and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything I’ve received. Although I’m ready for the next several years of my life in college, I will miss all the teachers and friends I’ve met here.

Now that my time in high school is done, I will be attending Tarleton State University in the fall to major in music education. Band and jazz band at Decatur has been a huge part of my life and an amazing experience. My band director Mr. McNiel has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He’s given me so much support and has been a solid foundation in my life when anything goes wrong. I’m so thankful for his influence on me. I hope to become a band director and influence students as well as he has done for me. Thank you, Mr. McNiel, for every memory and opportunity you have given me these past 4 years.

For whatever comes next for you, look forward to it but try not to let it cloud up whatever you have going on right now. Live in the present and do what you can to enjoy it. And as Mr. McNiel says, don’t be dumb.


Thank you Decatur,

Sam Reese