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High School Hero Week 10: Stratford High's Nick Smith

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- This week's High School Hero is a different sort of hero. Stratford High's Nick Smith is leading by example with the sound of music.

"I always wanted to be a drum major ever since I joined band. If there is one universal language it's definitely music," Smith said.

Smith is now Stratford High's drum major and every day his beat is a positive one. During the summers, he plays baseball, but once school starts, Smith keeps his focus on the treble clef, making a difference with music.

"My directors told my sophomore year when I wanted to be a drum major that it's kind of like becoming a band director and I said that is exactly why I want to do it, because I want the challenge," Smith said.

Overcoming challenges is nothing new for Smith.

At three days old, his biological parents could not take care of him and Smith's been with his adoptive family ever since. At the age of nine, Smith underwent back surgery to remove cysts from his spine, and it was about a year later he fell in love with music.

But his life as a drum major almost never happened because in his tenth grade year he found out his father was diagnosed with colon cancer.

"You know about a week before auditions, my dad calls me and says we need to go to the hospital to have emergency surgery. They discovered a large amount of colon cancer on his colon and had to remove a lot of his colon, and that really hit me hard. He's doing great now," Smith said.

That was great news for Smith. With the weight lifted off his shoulders he went on to try out for drum major. He said he had to try because he knew is Navy veteran father would want him to, and there is no one Smith admires more.

"Just the way he carries himself everyday. He always has his priorities set the right way so I get a lot of that from him," Smith said.

And Smith's efforts are definitely noticed in and out of the band room.

"Everything that he has to deal with, he still manages to do that job. And not just do it at 100 percent, but at 200 percent," said Stratford High Band Director Edna Grace.

Giving everything he has no matter what -- that makes Smith a High School Hero.

Smith hopes to attend the College of Charleston to study music of medicine -- or maybe both. He said he's also decided to try his hand at growing a beard for prostate awareness month.

Smith will lead his band on to the field Friday night in front of a home crowd as Goose Creek heads across town to take on Stratford in what may people are calling the game of the year.

ABC News 4 will be live from Stratford for the Game of the Week.

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