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St. Joe sophomore selected for national orchestra position

By JOSEPHINE MENDEZ The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON – When it came to choosing an instrument for band class prior to his fourth-grade year at Our Lady of Fatima, Armaan Karimpour unknowingly took the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” approach.

“I wanted to find an instrument that I was decent at before the year started,” said Karimpour, now a sophomore at St. Joseph Central Catholic High School. “I tried the trumpet because my sister played it, and I was horrible. It was really horrific. Then I tried flute, and that didn’t work either. I couldn’t even get a sound out of it. Then I tried clarinet, and I could get a sound out that was the best sounding. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was the best of everything I tried.”

While it may have started as just an “OK” sound, after years of hard work and dedication, Karimpour has since been able to transform his sound into something that has garnered him recognition in Huntington, in West Virginia and beyond.

From a young age, Karimpour said music has been a way for him to express himself.

“There is so much emotion and expression that you can put into (music),” he said. “I am a very expressive and emotional person, and that’s just the way that I can express myself.”

Though his introduction to music started in choir in elementary school, Karimpour said he has grown to prefer his clarinet.

“For me I just like the sound of a really good clarinet and wanting to get better and improve my sound and become the best I can be and expressing my emotions while trying to get better,” he said. “I liked music when I was younger, but I wasn’t obsessed with it or did as much with it as I do now.”

While his music teacher Kristie Finney knew early on that Karimpour had an aptitude for the clarinet, Karimpour said it took him much longer to realize he might have a future as a professional clarinet player.

Though his accolades include principal clarinetist for his school band, first chair of the All-County Band for four years, sixth chair in the 2017 All State Band and principal chair for the 2018 All-State Orchestra, Karimpour said it wasn’t until he was selected as co-principal clarinet for the West Virginia Youth Symphony last year that he said it really hit him that this could more than just a hobby.

As part of the Youth Symphony, Karimpour said he had the opportunity to play side-by-side with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

“It was the whole experience of playing with them and hearing them play,” he said. “I remember the first rehearsal, hearing the first second when we played together – it was amazing. That’s when I thought, ‘I want to do this.'”

Karimpour said his second confirmation came several months later when he was selected to be in the National Youth Orchestra 2 (NYO2) as one of three clarinet players.

NYO2 is a free orchestra program that comes together alongside NYO-USA each summer for intensive training and performance opportunities. Participating musicians are between the ages of 14 and 17 and come from across the U.S.

As part of the program, which will begin in June, musicians will train for two weeks in New York City before traveling to Miami to train and perform with the New World Symphony.

“I still don’t believe it,” he said. “I’m still worried I might get kicked out for some random reason or that it’s all a joke. I can’t believe it.”

Karimpour said he first learned of the NYO after attending the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan, last summer.

“I was listening to a piece we played on YouTube, and one of the thumbnails on the side was the National Youth Orchestra,” he said. “They had a link, and that led me to their website, but I pushed it to the side thinking I could never get into it.”

Karimpour said he revisited the site in September and thought he would give it a try.

“At the very least I thought I could get feedback from my audition,” he said.

He then spent October and November preparing for his audition, which included a solo, minor and major scales, and two orchestra excerpts submitted via a video recording. Karimpour said he also was required to submit a personal essay.

Following countless hours of practice, Karimpour said he submitted all he required materials in December and the wait began.

“It felt like I was waiting forever,” he said.

His wait ended Feb. 16 when he received an email confirming he had been accepted into the ensemble.

“It’s still hard to believe,” he said. “When I found out, I called my private teacher and my family. It felt so unreal; I checked the email over and over again.”

Karimpour said none of his accomplishments would be possible without the support of family and friends.

“I have a great support system of teachers, friends and family that push me forward and make it possible,” he said.

While being such an accomplished musician at the age of 16 is a feat in itself, Karimpour also has many other talents.

He plays tennis and is a member of his school’s Key Club, Science Olympiad and Student Council.

Though he will likely be able to claim many more accomplishments before he graduates high school, Karimpour said he’s already planning for college.

Karimpour said he’d like to attend a liberal arts school conservatory and pursue a major in music performance with the clarinet as well as either a major in economics or engineering.

St. Joseph Places 2nd in Annual SCORES Competition at Marshall University

Congratulations to the following students for placing in the SCORES competition at Marshall University on Friday, April 13th:

1st place    Economics Trivia Challenge – C. Giompalo, K. Brown, L. Blatt, L. Schaffer

1st place    Woodwinds – A. Karimpour

1st place     News Writing  – B. Gross

1st place     Social Work & Welfare – B. McGougan

2nd place    School of Nursing Essay – E. Turner

2nd place    Broadcast News Writing – S. Kyle

2nd place    Costume Design – J. Weber

3rd place    Human Resource Management – A. Lee

3rd place    Communications Disorders Essay – L. Blatt

3rd place    Creative Writing: Poetry – S. Short

3rd place   Creative Writing: Short Story – S. Short

3rd place    Impromptu Speaking – Z. Pinson

3rd place    Spanish I – B. McGougan

3rd place    News Writing – L. Blatt

3rd place   Chemistry II – J. Nguyen

3rd place    Information Technology Concepts – I. Meade

3rd place    Social Work & Welfare – L. Blatt


A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to I. Vance who received a $200 Scholarship to the MU College of Business and a $500 Outstanding Student Scholarship to Marshall University!

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to S. Kyle who received a $500 Outstanding Student Scholarship to Marshall University!

Senior Table at Irish Auction

Sneak peak of one of our 2018 Auction items! A table with tiles painted by the class of 2018! Join us tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. at the Ramanda Limited Hotel in Huntington to see this item and many others. Contact Belinda Chapman at (304)525-5096 to purchase tickets!!

A very special thank you to the students at the Cabell County Career and Technical Center for designing and building the table!!!!


Prom Tickets are on Sale NOW!

Prom is Saturday, April 21st at Guyan Golf & Country Club.
  • Grand March will begin promptly at 6:30pm
  • Dinner begins at 7:00pm
  • Dance from 8:00 – 10:30pm

Tickets are on sale now in Mrs. Webb’s room.  They are $80/couple $45/single.  The LAST DAY to purchase tickets will be Wednesday, April 18th!  Below are links for prom pictures and the permission form (if you are bringing a guest from another school).

Dance Permission Form - 410 downloads


2018 Prom Portrait Package - 10 downloads

Interested in Video Games?


Are you interested in video games, art, and/or video game writing and design?

The Marshall University Digital Humanities Program along with the Game Design Guild are sponsoring a 2-day Game Jam next weekend. The purpose of this collaborative effort is to challenge writers, artists, programmers, and designers to write, develop, code, and deliver a complete videogame in just two days. The videogames will all need to be developed around a theme announced the first day of the jam.


Anyone wishing to participate should email for detailed instructions for the game jam and registration.


Thank You Key Club!

Thank you to our Key Club students for picking up trash after school on Tuesday, March 27th to help keep our campus clean! Members cleaned our parking lots and the blocks surrounding our school.