LHS Top 10 – 10. Paul McCulley

Get to know Number 10 Paul McCulley as he reflects on his high school experience


Senior Paul McCulley takes a picture with friends during senior sunrise. Photo courtesy of Paul McCulley.


Q: What’s your favorite horror movie?

A: “My favorite horror movie is the quiet place, [and] I’m looking forward to the second one.”

Q: Would you rather be rich and unhappy or poor and happy?

A:Poor and happy [because] happiness, I feel, is something money can’t really buy, even if it’s physical things. I feel like happiness is really up to you just doing what you love.”

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

A: George Gershwin [because] he’s one of my favorite music composers. Being able to talk to him about what gave him his inspiration for some of his music could inspire me. I could also get a new view as a musician on how I want to play.”

Q: If you were stuck on an island, what are three things you would take and why?

A: “If I were stuck on an island, I would take a helicopter, a pilot and my Nintendo Switch so I can entertain myself on the flight back home.”

Q: If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it and why?

A: “Probably put at least 40% into the bank to save and invest in real estate with the rest. Real estate gets expensive over time, and so if I own multiple properties, I’ll be able to get a couple of tenants who will pay quite a bit of money for it. In the future, I’ll be able to flip those houses and make $100k more. I hope to be a richer man.”


Q: What college will you attend? What is your intended major?

A: “I’m attending UT Austin, and I’m majoring in mechanical engineering.”

Q: What extracurriculars have you been in throughout high school?

A: “I’m part of band, NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, StuCo and interact.”

Q: What was the most challenging aspect about balancing extracurriculars and academics?

A: “Making sure not to procrastinate, balancing and making sure you do both things at once. I remember in band we would have rehearsals for two to three hours a day and so I would get home at like 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., and then I would have homework for a bunch of AP classes. So it’s just trying to make sure throughout the day I am as productive as possible. During lunch, instead of going on my phone, I would be doing homework that way I won’t have to do it later.”

Q: What class was the hardest for you? Why?

A: Pre-AP pre-cal was pretty difficult for me. Actually, [it was] pretty difficult for everyone. For me, it was all the topics they talked about. I was also balancing pre-AP pre-cal with AP U.S. history and AP English, so I had a bunch of assignments from them, too.”

Q: Who has helped you the most throughout this journey? How have they?

A: “Mr. Kraft has been with me since freshman year. He is very enthusiastic about his job and makes band rehearsals very fun and enjoyable. He inspires me, both as a person and musician, to get better every day and to constantly strive for the top. Additionally, he is one of the nicest, coolest and supportive people I have ever met. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. His dedication inspires me every day, and I am very thankful to have him as a director.”

Q: What has been the most memorable part of high school?

A: “Probably riding the bus to marching band competitions. It’s just a feeling everyone [shares]. We would be on the bus from anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour depending on how far we were.”

Q: How has COVID impacted your senior year? 

A: COVID has definitely impacted my senior year by not letting us have an overall senior experience. I’m a senior, I’m supposed to be at the top of the school, but with half the class being all virtual, I’m not able to experience that. Also, football wasn’t really the same because of social distancing. A lot of the hype and entertainment weren’t really the same.”

Q: What advice would you give to your freshman self?

A: “I would probably say continue working hard. Just make sure every day you’re improving. As long as you [are] better than yesterday, then you accomplished something. Also, I would say to not compare myself to others, to just be myself and continue doing the best I can.”

Q: What are you most excited about regarding college?

A: “Probably just being able to do everything on my own now, [it is] a little bit exciting but also scary, too. I’m going to be living away from [home], so I [will] have to rely on myself and not on my mom to make food and stuff like that.”

Q: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?

A: I’m hoping to get a job related to mechanical engineering, and maybe start a company [that creates] more environmentally-friendly transportation. That’s why I’m going to mechanical engineering in the first place. In 10 years, I also hope to continue playing music and maybe pick up a new hobby. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony.”