Plainville High School salutatorian to follow his love of music to the University of Connecticut

Published on Thursday, 13 June 2019 11:18
Written by Kayla Murphy


BRISTOL - Daniel Szymula, Plainville High School’s salutatorian, will be pursuing a degree in music education at the University of Connecticut. Finding music “mentally intriguing,” he was inspired to be become a high school music teacher just like his teacher, Dominic Talotta.

“Mr. Talotta taught me how to be the person I wanted to be. To be patient, kind and understanding. He knows what to say and how to say it,” said Szymula. “I’m a very blunt person. I don’t have a filter sometimes and he called me out on it. He helped me mature. I hope to be like him.”

One of Szymula’s recent challenges was teaching his classmates a song for their end-of-the-year concert.

“Some people think teaching is easy, but it can actually be really hard. You have to think on the fly and you have to listen and react. My job is to communicate all parts. I’m getting better at being patient and it’s really rewarding to be teaching my classmates,” he said.

Szymula has been playing the trumpet since 5th grade, and is self-taught in piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, all four types of saxaphones and piano. He was in concert band, marching band and jazz band all four years and was section leader for two years.

Outside of music, Szymula got involved with cross country and track, which he said was the best decision he made in high school.

“I made a lot new friends. I joined because I wanted to try a sport. I didn’t think I could do it, but I’m more capable than what I thought I could do,” he said.

When he started cross country as a freshman, he was running the 5k in about 25 minutes. At the end of his senior year, he was able to shave five minutes off his time, making a personal best and landing him a spot at the CCC’s.

Szymula’s other high school activities including the ski club, vice president of the French/Italian Club, active member of the Italian National Honor society, the National Honor Society and the Science National Honor Society. He was also the winner of Mr. Plainville High School.

He was also a councilmember for the State Student Advisor Council on Education, where students from all over Connecticut come to discuss current education problems. In late June, he will be presenting his idea in Hartford to the Board of Education about cultivating interest in education as a career and increasing education diversity.

When he’s not in school sports or band, Szymula is very active within the community as a trumpet player in the Plainville Wind Ensemble, and a volunteer in the Children’s Department at the Plainville Public Library.

Szymula is thankful for his parents and looks forward to their summer trip to Italy before moving to UConn.

“I had a very good four years here. I feel like I had a better experience than most. I am grateful for self-discovery. I think I’ve become more outgoing and more confident. I like trying new things and I’ve made a lot of new friends. I’m excited to start my next adventure at college, but I’m sad that it’s ending. I hope my classmates and teachers realize how much they’ve done for me. I’m very appreciative of all of them,” Szymula said.

NOTE: The Bristol Press made several attempts to setup an interview with the Plainville Valedictorian.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Plainville on Thursday, 13 June 2019 11:18. Updated: Thursday, 13 June 2019 11:21.