LHS Top 10 – 6. Shawn McConnell

Get to know Number 6 Shawn McConnell as he reflects on his high school experience


Senior Shawn McConnell poses in a suit. Photo courtesy of Shawn McConnell.


Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week, where would you travel and why?

A: “I’d like to travel to a Northern European country to watch death diving competitions. It’s basically like a belly flopping competition, but you’re not belly flopping. It’s the stupidest way to get in the water without hurting yourself. They have the world championships out there, so it’d be a cool experience to go there. I’m trying to do it in Dallas. We have a Dallas group I’m trying to join.”

Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

A: “I would definitely like to teleport because I’m always late, and I want to get to places faster without having to run.”

Q: If you were given a million dollars, how would you spend it?

A: “I don’t think I would keep all of it. I would definitely give a lot to my mom. My parents are divorced right now, so she lives in an apartment. I would give her the money to buy a house, and what she needs to get started back up. I’d probably give the rest to my local church because most of my college expenses are paid by the Navy.”

Q: What is one thing you can’t live without and why?

A: “I probably can’t live without free time to mentally decompress from the stresses of school, life and being a senior. Everything is kind of closing in, but right now I feel like after AP [tests] I can let loose and have a bunch of free time.” 

Q: What is one moment in your life you’d like to relive and why?

A: “Freshman year, the first year I was involved in drumline, I ended up making it on quads. That year was a special year because we were coming back going into a Bands of America competition, which [are] super regional and national competitions. The moment I’d like to relive for that trip is that we made finals and after we performed for finals for an awesome crowd that was being live streamed on a national broadcast network, our drumline was putting up the drums and I got a memo from our director to not put the drums up. He said we were going to perform an exhibition for all the groups coming in for the final retreat. It was a really big honor for Lewisville to be selected for such a big responsibility among all the other awesome drumlines that could have done it.” 


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

A: “I’m going to The University of Texas at Austin and I’m majoring in mechanical engineering. I was given a four-year Navy scholarship, which is paying for everything, besides room and board.”

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

A: “I’ve been involved in drumline and I am captain this year. I’m the vice president of NHS, I’m the president of the Junior World Affairs Council, I’m a leading member of the Mu Alpha Theta, I’m a member of the Math National Honor Society, I’m a big member of the president’s club, I was involved in StuCo sophomore year, and at Harmon I was involved in the chess club, the ultimate frisbee club and the PSAT team.”

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

A: “Balancing everything in my schedule is really difficult because I’ve been working at Walgreens my junior and senior year. [Working] on top of school was difficult to be able to have the free time I needed to decompress. I struggled mentally [with] finding the balance between the two. One thing I definitely used to decompress was to find refuge in drumline and the other activities [I’ve done]. If I’m part of an organization or activity that day, I’m fully immersed in that and living in the moment, so that later in life I can look back and see that I gave it my all. The harder I work right now, the more rewards I’m going to have in the future.”

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

A: “The hardest class I’ve taken is a tie between AP calculus and AP world history. AP world history was a big jump for me from AP human geography. AP world history just throws you into the deep end, and they do not take any slack at Harmon. They made me work really hard for the grade I wanted. The review period for AP calculus [was difficult] because you had to basically review [an] entire year’s worth of material [compared to] shorter classes.”

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

A: “One of my biggest inspirations in school is my drumline director because I had already grown a relationship with him in sixth to eighth grade. Being in the percussion cluster, he was already teaching us. I had already grown to enjoy his presence and teaching, so going into freshman year I just had to adjust to a stricter teaching style. He helped me to mentally grow and to physically sustain everything going on around me. [He taught] me hard work pays off in the end and to enjoy every second of the program.”

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

A: “One of the most memorable parts of high school is the pandemic itself. Just getting used to a changed life so far into my schedule and having to adjust to a completely parallel world. I had to grow into a different person, and I definitely feel I’ve progressed into a different state of mind. [I’ve learned] to enjoy the little things while we have them and don’t take any time for granted while I’m still here. It created a new life for us all and being a high schooler through that is super monumental.”

Q: In your personal high school experience, what has been different this year due to COVID?

A: “One thing different is not seeing packed hallways all the time and not seeing the life of [school] we’re normally acquainted with. Usually, there’s lots of activities going on, and since we weren’t able to experience all of that [because] half of the student body is at home for virtual learning, there is a different mood and vibe [to] the school.”

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

A: “To keep on pushing and realize you’re living in the best time of your life, potentially. Live in the moment as much as you can because once it’s gone, it’s gone and just a memory. Academically, don’t compare yourself to other people. You’re your own worst enemy in everything.”

Q: What are you most excited about regarding college?

A: “I’m excited to form a new personality and to meet new people as I grow into the culture of Austin. Basically to branch out beyond my horizons in my community and to create new legacies within the programs I’ll be involved in in Austin.”

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

A: “I would like to see myself in a stable career that doesn’t feel like a job. [I want] a job I can enjoy doing, whether than living paycheck to paycheck. Whether, that be up north, down south or doing whatever in the Navy. I’d like to see myself posted up in Austin soon as a mechanical designer or a computer designer. I just want to be doing what I like.”