ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
“A champion has the desire to strive for perfection and the will to punish themselves in the process.”
That motto-printed on the back of Philip Unruh’s shirt-is the inspiration for students in the Peabody-Burns High School weight-lifting program.
Unruh, a senior, said the strength he and his teammates gained from weight lifting made a significant difference in the football team’s 9-2 record this year.
But Unruh’s life is not just about lifting weights and winning football games. He plays baseball with a passion, enjoys working on computers and is a leader in the choir program.
“I’ve heard studies that say people involved in music are better off,” Unruh said. “I think it’s kept me busy, and I enjoy it.”
Unruh said he’s enjoyed being involved in music since grade school. In addition to regular choir, there is a select group at the high school called Voices. Both groups are led by choral director Steven Glover.
“Phil has been one of the male backbones of the vocal program throughout his high-school years,” Glover said. “He has participated in our show choir, Voices, all four years and has been a leader in the group.”
A baritone, Unruh sang with Voices and a six-member select ensemble at the regional music festival April 5 at Tabor College in Hillsboro.
Both groups garnered a “II” in the contest, and the Voices judge offered a critique of their performance.
“The judge said we needed more volume, but it was in a big tall room in the chapel, kind of like a gym,” Unruh said.
“I think we did our best. And it’s a good way to get to know other people-to see who sings and how good people are all over.”
The senior has a long list of school activities, including National Honor Society, Business Professionals of America, FFA, Scholars Bowl, computer-technology aide, varsity football and basketball, and senior-class representative for Student Council.
“I think it fills my time so I don’t have to be bored-sitting at home doing nothing,” Unruh said.
Being part of the group experience in choir is what Unruh enjoys most about the program.
“You get to know a lot of people in the group real well, especially in Voices,” Unruh said. “And we do choreography with some of our songs, so it’s not just sitting there singing.”
Hesston College and Bethany College in Lindsborg have offered Unruh academic scholarships, and he’s also considering Tabor.
“But I’m leaning more toward Hesston, because they’re pretty interested in me for baseball,” Unruh said. “I like working with computers, so I’d like to do something with computers.”
Will he continue to sing in college?
“They’ve got a couple of choral groups at Hesston that I know of,” Unruh said. “They sound pretty interesting, so I might try out for one of those.”