Albert Gallatin senior a true gem

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Albert Gallatin senior Luke Diamond is quickly learning the art of packing and unpacking suitcases.

From April 14-17 Diamond was one of several Albert Gallatin students who attended and participated in the Pennsylvania Future Business Leaders of America competition in Hershey.

No sooner did Diamond unpack than he had to repack for his April 17-20 visit to Erie, where he was one of 240 students statewide — and the first from Albert Gallatin — to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Choir.

If it seems that Diamond has a full plate, that may be an understatement.

Last fall, he was a member of the Colonials' soccer and cross-country teams, dividing his time during the same athletic season. This spring, in addition to his involvement with the FBLA and choir, he is a member of the track team.

“Luke has not qualified for the WPIALs, yet,” AG track coach Joe Thomas said, “but he is a hard worker, he is energetic and he has made good progress in four seasons. I was pleased with his performance last year and look for even bigger things this year. He accomplished a lot last year and his times have improved each season. Luke has been competitive in the Fayette County meets each year and this year should be no exception. By the time the meet rolls around — April 27 — he will get to the times necessary to be competitive. Luke is a good student and conscientious. He will go somewhere.”

A four-year member of the track team, Diamond looked back at his freshman year as a learning experience and has been satisfied with his yearly progress. He is a member of the 3,200-meter relay team and runs the 300 hurdles, but he refers the 400 meters “because it's the hardest,” he said. “It is a full sprint, and I like the challenge.”

Diamond's personal best in the 400 is 58 seconds, and his goal is to eclipse that figure each time he steps onto the track.

“I'll get there this year, under 58,” he said. “This is my senior year, and it is the year for me.”

But finding enough time for his extracurricular activities sometimes presents a dilemma.

Since his sophomore year Diamond has spent his late winter/early spring days on stage as a member of the school's musical productions. After being a member of the ensemble as a sophomore in “Once Upon a Mattress,” Diamond landed leading roles in “You're a Good Man Charlie Brown” as a junior and as Seymour in “Little Shop of Horrors” this year.

Diamond, who sports a 3.7 grade-point average and is a member of the school's Math Team, Debate Team and Young Astronauts Club, laughingly admits that he preferred “Little Shop of Horrors” because of “its more upbeat music and the fact that I played more of an adult character after playing 5-year-old Charlie Brown.”

With Diamond's all-state choir selection an example, his stage talents are almost another day at the office. But in the fall he will take his talents to West Virginia University where he has received a full scholarship in vocal performance. Obviously musically inclined, Diamond plays the French horn in the school orchestra and piano in both rock and church bands. He also participates in summer theater programs in Johnstown and Carmichaels.

In fact, he has written and directed “This Ol' Book,” a musical about three Biblical stories, providing area churchgoers a Christian-oriented performance.

Somehow, Diamond also finds time to have been a 10-year member of his local 4-H program.

“We have a big farm with about 500 dairy cows,” he said. “I began in dairy, but I have been involved with raising and showing pigs at the Fayette County Fair for eight years and I'll be showing three this summer. 4-H takes a lot of time. It involves having the proper equipment, feeding, washing and walking the animals. I'm not the best at it, but 4-H is something I enjoy.”

Les Harvath is a freelance writer.

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