Loss big part of his life
GHS senior knows about resiliency.
Leading the Gothenburg High School band as drum major this year has given 18-year-old Talbot Buchholz huge satisfaction.As has playing his trumpet with the band and enjoying success on the wrestling mat, the football gridiron and on the trapshooting range.
All have helped him heal from the devastation he experienced in junior high when his stepfather died from colon cancer and his mother was killed, 14 months later, in a tragic motorcycle accident.
Talbot will receive a diploma, along with the rest of the GHS Class of 2014, this Sunday.
Four years ago, he was living in Cozad with his mother, Whitney Buchholz. In early May, Whitney remarried and went on a honeymoon to the Black Hills on the back of a motorcycle.
On the way home, the motorcycle blew a tire and crashed. Whitney was killed.
At the time, Buchholz was staying with his grandparents, Ralph and Charleen Ogier, in Gothenburg.
He never left.
When Talbot learned of his mother’s death, he said he felt numb.
“Grandma was crying so Grandpa told me,” he said.
At the time, Talbot said he was still dealing with the death of his beloved stepfather, Roy Buchholz, who had worked in the tool and dye department at Tenneco.
In August, Talbot entered GHS as a freshman.
“It took awhile to fit in but I found my niche with the band,” he said.
Talbot also joined the TeamMates program—where he was mentored by Gene Parsons—and the wrestling, football and trapshooting teams.
Band has been a big part of his life, an activity affected by fate.
“Part of me feels like I had to come to Gothenburg to help Mr. Belanger with his band program,” he said. “I don’t always believe things happen for a reason and I do believe you change your destiny.”
Belanger described Talbot as a focused, hard-working part of the band and a student who’s been recognized for his work.
In addition to drum major, the 18-year-old was also selected for the University of Nebraska at Kearney Honor Band and was part of an outstanding instrumental ensemble at district music contest.
“He’s resilient and has great tenacity,” Belanger said, noting that Talbot never makes excuses about his situation. “I see him as being extremely successful after high school graduation.
Besides activities helping him recover from loss, a girlfriend from Hastings has also played a part.
He met her at an Adams Central wrestling meet in Hastings.
“I had been numb and unemotional and she opened my heart to a lot of different perspectives on everything,” he said.
Talbot plans to attend Central Community College in Hastings where he wants to be a tool and dye machinist like his stepfather.
Talbot credits Roy for what he taught his stepson while he was alive.
“He always encouraged me to ask specific questions and to think outside the box to solve problems,” he said.
Keeping Roy’s memory alive has helped Talbot deal with his losses.
To help others with challenges, Talbot suggests “putting yourself out there.”
“Don’t be afraid of rejection,” he said, noting that he didn’t think he’d be good at band when he first joined. “You need to take opportunity into your hands.”
Following graduation, Talbot will continue to work as a farmhand for Ross Wahlgren, play his trumpet and guitar and cruise with friends.
And he’ll also look ahead.
“I can’t wait to see what life will bring.”