Student Spotlight: Joanna Saxon

Alyssa Sherry, News and Features Editor

“I am a more creative and confident person because of music,” says senior and decorated musician Joanna Saxon, a member of Wayne Valley’s marching band, jazz band, symphonic band, and saxophone quintet. “Music has helped me to develop a better work ethic and taught me to never settle for less. I have been trained to always keep improving, and to never settle for mediocrity.” 

Ever since she first learned to play the tenor saxophone almost nine years ago, Saxon has felt a deep connection to music and loves being able to express herself through her instrument. Through Saxon’s continued hard work and dedication to her musical pursuits, she was accepted into several prestigious (and highly selective) ensembles: Junior Region 1 Wind Ensemble, Area Band Wind Ensemble/Symphonic Band, Region 1 Symphonic Band, NJ All-State Symphonic Band, and NAfME All-Eastern Concert Band. In order to be accepted into these ensembles, which typically only takes three tenor saxophone players, Saxon competed against some of the best high school musicians across the country. 

Although she is proud of her accomplishments and grateful for the opportunity to play music in such ensembles, Saxon especially treasures the bonds that she formed on the marching band, and “feeling like part of a family.” In fact, led by Saxon and other gifted seniors, Wayne Valley’s marching band was recognized as both State and Mid-Atlantic Champions. “Even through all the chaos and restrictions we faced,” Saxon reflects, “we still performed at a high level and made no excuses to give up just because the odds were against us.”

In addition to her impressive musical skill, Saxon is involved in the AP Studio Art program. Her concentration focuses on the patterns and structures that reoccur in nature, and how these patterns can be amplified to reflect connections to the natural world. Like music, Saxon’s artwork has significantly influenced who she is: “[Through art,] I see the world from a more detailed and close-up perspective. I am able to perceive the beauty and complexity of everyday things… I have a greater appreciation for the beauty of nature and life itself.”

Currently, Saxon plans to major in biology in college, where she will continue her music and art careers. Her focus on flowers, plants, and animals in AP Studio Art reflects her love of the natural sciences. With the future in mind, Saxon advises, “Keep doing what you are passionate about; this is what is most important in life.”

Saxon is also involved in the Quiz Bowl, National Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honors Society at Wayne Valley.

Check out some of Saxon’s artwork on her Instagram page: @joanna_saxon! The Wayne Valley community is continually impressed by Saxon’s accomplishments, and anticipates her bright future.