BARBERTON: Although music is Sarah Bia­getti’s passion, there is more to her life than musical talent.


Biagetti, 18, daughter of Jeff and Beth Biagetti, is valedictorian of her senior class of 253 students at Barberton High School. She also took classes in the early education program at the University of Akron to get a jump on her college education. She will attend Baldwin-Wallace College and pursue a degree in music therapy.


“It’s pretty cool to be No. 1 in my class,” said Biagetti, who is a Class of 2012 Beacon Journal Star Student. “It was kind of unexpected when I found out about it because I chose what I thought was best for my education by taking postsecondary classes rather than AP classes, which would have boosted my GPA and given me a better chance to be valedictorian. I thought it would be more worth my while to go the secondary route and get those credit hours done so I won’t have to pay tuition for those credits. ”


She earned 30 credits.


She also ended up No. 1 anyway.


“That says a lot about her character,” said Jennifer Sullivan, head of the English Department at Barberton High School. “She wasn’t trying to get No. 1 by taking extra high AP classes just to be valedictorian, but she worked hard and still ended up at the top.”


Guidance counselor Kay Wylie called Biagetti “a bright, creative, talented and motivated woman who seeks to challenge herself and strives for success.”


“Sarah approaches her every endeavor with a stalwart intensity, a keen focus and the conviction that nothing less than the achievement of her goals is acceptable,” Wylie said.


Biagetti is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Club, Tri-M Music Honor Society, marching band, pep band and Academic Challenge.


Her teachers describe her as responsible, intelligent and hard-working in the classrooms. They say she is also a service-oriented student and very active in the community, volunteering countless hours for the Salvation Army.


Biagetti’s list of community involvement includes playing in the Akron Youth Philharmonic and Akron Youth Symphony and serving as brass instructor for the Salvation Army’s Akron Citadel. She has played in several honor bands, including Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, Ohio Band Director’s Conference, Ohio Music Education Association All-State and Asbury University, and has played with the Salvation Army band in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.


Band director Dan Fleischaker describes Biagetti as very talented, a good leader and a role model for her peers.


Music is in her blood.


Both parents were in band throughout high school and so was her older brother, Nicholas (Nico), now a sophomore at Kent State.


“I thought that was cool, so in the sixth grade, when I had to decide whether to take band or choir, I chose band, too,” she said. “My dad was a percussionist and my mom played trumpet. My brother played trumpet and I started on trumpet, but I didn’t really like it that much. I felt like I was just playing it because my mom and brother played it, and I wanted to do something different. That’s when I took up the horn.”


She likens playing an instrument to a sport.


“You have to use those muscles every day if you want your body to develop the skills you are trying to learn, and if you go a day or two without doing that, it’s going to put you back a step further,” she said. “Just like schoolwork, I have to keep up with that. It’s just part of my routine.”


Biagetti said she can see herself as a music therapist in the future, working at a hospital or an elementary school with children who have autism or Down syndrome.


“I particularly enjoy working with students one on one or in small groups,” she said. “I’m also really passionate about the work of the Salvation Army and their ministry. It’s definitely something I plan to stay involved in throughout college and afterward. It’s my church, my family, and that’s probably going to continue to be a big part of my life.”


Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or mmiller@thebeaconjournal.com.