Jonathan “Jon” Lampley —a former standout student at Tallmadge High School — is continuing to bask in the spotlight at Ohio State University, where he’s a senior on a full academic scholarship.
Jon was a National Merit Scholarship finalist with a 4.2 grade point average and a class vice president at Tallmadge (Class of 2008). He also was on the basketball team and in drama club, marching band (tuba) and concert band (trumpet). As a member of OSU’s band, he’s been tapped to be the “i-dotter” during the band’s pregame performance Saturday against Penn State.
He calls the honor a dream come true, especially since this is the 75th anniversary of Script Ohio.
“Being an i-dotter is huge for me because I’ve been the biggest Ohio State fan since I was a young child,” said the 21-year-old, who is one of the band’s 28 sousaphone players. OSU tradition dictates you must be a sousaphone player and a senior who has been in the band four years to be considered for the coveted role.
During an interview with the Beacon Journal during his senior year of high school, Jon spoke about his big dream:
“When I was 7 years old, I was with my parents at an Ohio State game and that was the first time I started loving Ohio State. I loved the football team and the band. But my goal is to ‘dot the i’ when I’m at Ohio State.”
Now it’s become real.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling knowing that it’s actually happening soon,” he said. “It’ll also mean a lot to me to be able to represent my family, friends and hometown of Tallmadge on the stage of Ohio Stadium.”
Tallmadge High School principal Rebecca DeCapua is very excited for Jon and his family: “Tallmadge could not be better represented than by Jon Lampley. During his time at Tallmadge he was a young man who constantly surprised me with his many talents. He was an athlete, scholar, an actor in our school plays as well as a musical talent.
“We were all aware this [being an i-dotter] has been a goal of his for a very long time,” DeCapua continued. “And I couldn’t be more excited to see him realize it. So I’ll be there in the stadium cheering as loudly as the rest of the fans. This is a big moment for him. He’s just a wonderful kid. We’re just thrilled to death for him!”
Jon, also an accomplished pianist, is the son of Jonathan and Rebekah Lampley of Tallmadge. Dad is a kidney transplant recipient; Mom is a breast cancer survivor. Not surprisingly, he calls both of them his heroes.
“My mom and dad have supported me in everything I’ve ever done,” Jon said in that earlier interview. “What’s really helped me be successful is knowing that no matter what I do I’ll always have their support.”
Jon’s dad — who calls his son his best friend — said he got a call from his son late in his freshman year of college. “I could tell he was a little hesitant when he said he had something to tell me,” he recalled.
“He was in pre-med with a 3.9 GPA. But he said, ‘Dad, I’m not really feeling medicine anymore.’ But he wasn’t sure how I would take it … He stood by me during the transplant.”
He learned his son chose pre-med as a major because of his and his wife’s medical issues. “I just told him I wanted him to be happy. That’s all!”
Young Jon does community volunteer work and plays trumpet at First Apostolic Church in Akron when he’s home. He plays at a Columbus church where just last week he was named musical director.
Here is what else he has on his plate.
“I’m studying jazz studies/trumpet performance,” he said, and is also majoring in psychology.
“I perform with various musical groups around Columbus, Akron, Cleveland and New York. This past summer I played trumpet on tour with the nationally renowned rock band O.A.R.
“After I finish my undergrad degree I’d like to get my master’s degree at a music institution in New York City and then pursue a performance career that would eventually end up with me teaching music at the college level.”
These are the best of times and the worst of times right now for the Lampleys, as the elder Jon’s mother is hospitalized, having suffered a massive stroke this week.
Even so, the family feels very blessed as they contemplate Thanksgiving and the all of the victories they’ve had.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.