Matt Henriksen’s natural ambition and leadership extends to all he does


Friday night lights beating down, in between third and fourth quarter, the much-awaited act assembles before a cheering crowd.

Drum beats thunder, and the entirety of the agitated student section begins to gleefully jump and dance to the rhythm, electrified by the riveting performance of their peers.

Junior Matt Henriksen, once a wide-eyed viewer himself, gets to be part of the drumline’s thrilling football game performances every Friday– and he relishes in every moment of it.

“It’s fun because we get to showcase all the stuff we worked really hard on,” Matt said. “Especially with fifth quarter, it’s just cool. Like in eighth grade, I saw fifth quarter for the first time, and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s just incredible.’ But now, I can do it, and it’s just cool to think about how much I’ve progressed as a player.”

Matt has been honing his craft as far back as first grade, beginning with drum kit lessons in first grade, then graduating to his previous school’s third-grade band.

“The tryout for the third-grade band, for percussion, was playing on the kit, so I got in,” Matt said. “After sixth grade, I stopped playing kit and started focusing more on rudiments for the snare drum and stuff like that, and then I just continued on.”

Matt moved to FHC in seventh grade; here, he was given the opportunity to expand his percussive ability to marimba, bells, and more. Now as a junior, he bears a snare drum out on the field with the FHC drumline.

Drumline has proven to be an enriching aspect of Matt’s high school career, and he is grateful for the people it has allowed him to connect with and the “culture” he has been able to immerse himself in.

“I have so many new friends that I’ve made from the drumline,” Matt said. “They’re all cool kids, and we can relate to playing drums together and suffering through band camp and carrying heavy drums. So it’s kind of the drumline culture that I really love, not necessarily just playing music. Like if I were always playing music alone, I wouldn’t really like it that much.”

In truth, the people and community is a large part of why Matt loves FHC band so much. Though it has been in Matt’s life for a significant majority of his life, music itself is not necessarily his greatest passion.

“It’s something I enjoy doing,” Matt said, “but I wouldn’t say it’s something that drives my entire life, like I don’t think I’ll be playing music after high school.”

Nevertheless, this does not detract from his passion for FHC band and its success. Matt has big dreams for drumline specifically and hopes to be field commander next year in order to carry out those dreams.

“Before, we would go to competitions, and I want to bring something like that back where there’s more incentive to be a really good drumline and become one of the best drumlines in the state possibly,” Matt said. “[I want] to start that growth of the drumline back up again to just be an amazing drumline.”

This fiery ambition and leadership instinct extends to all Matt does, including another nearly life-long endeavor of Matt’s–  baseball.

“I love sports in general, not just [because of] the friends, but because my competitive side comes out,” Matt said. “I have like a second personality for sports. It’s just fun.”

On the JV team last year, Matt naturally emerged as one of the team’s leaders. That leadership position presented obstacles, but Matt’s dedication and work ethic never dimmed.

“We kind of had to bring up some people and try to get them in the game because a lot of people throughout the season just stopped caring about if we won or lost,” Matt said. “Like in the playoffs, people would say, ‘Oh, I just want to lose, so we can stop playing and be done with the season.’ We had to work through that to have everyone on the same page to work together.”

Even in more difficult cases like that, Matt thrives as a leader.

“I enjoy being a leader,” Matt said. “Like in world history right now, I’m the leader of my civilization. It’s cool because you’re in control of organization and what everyone does.”

That being said, Matt knows that leadership roles are tricky territory and thus tries his best to always be a fair and just leader.

“My whole life I’ve had a fear of coming off as really bossy because when I was really little, kids would be like ‘Oh, you’re so bossy,’ ” Matt said. “So it’s just been a thing that I always keep in the back of my mind when I’m trying to lead. I want to always consider other people’s thoughts and what they want and try to come to a neutral balance of what everyone wants.”

All things considered, Matt has an undeniable drive that is sure to carry him throughout his life. As he looks to the rest of his high school career, he hopes to continue to reap success and positively impact those around him.

“In the future, I want to be field commander of the drumline and make varsity baseball this year,” Matt said. “I just want to be doing stuff that I love doing.”