McPherson, an 18-year-old senior at Reed High School and valedictorian of his 2008 graduating class, said he enjoyed all his classes, be it statistics, environmental science, government, history or fine arts. Among it all, he still had time to teach himself how to play the piano.
"My expectations for myself are really high," McPherson said. "I'm kind of a jack-of-all-trades."
And for McPherson, who will be graduating with a 5.2 grade point average, the decision to choose a major in college is a hard one for someone who is interested in so many different subjects.
Volunteer work, however, has always been a driving passion, McPherson said, and he has logged more than 1,000 hours over the course of his high school career.
The senior, who served on a mentor program for incoming high school freshmen, plans to continue his community work by joining an AmeriCorps group in Philladelphia next fall. AmeriCorps is an outreach program designed to help inner city children through tutoring during a 10-month service.
Instead of enrolling in college after high school, McPherson decided his volunteer work would give him a chance to decide what he wanted to study next.
"I wanted to be different," McPherson said. "Earning at least 1,000 hours of volunteer work was always a goal of mine. Now I want to continue it."
McPherson's other long-time goal was to become his class valedictorian, proving this senior is ready for accomplishments outside of high school.
"I'm looking foward to embracing my creativity for the first time," McPherson said.
After his 10-month volunteer service, McPherson said he has already started looking at potential colleges. His list includes the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University in Rhode Island and Amherst College in Massachusetts.
McPherson said he wants to focus on art studies and other liberal arts but still has not ruled out the possibility of medical school.
"Right now I'm trying to postpone that decision," McPherson said with a laugh.
And while he is excited to leave high school behind for his future areas of study, McPherson said his high school career has been fulfilling, having played for the football and tennis teams.
"High school isn't real life," McPherson said. "But that's a gift in itself."
As parting advice to his fellow classmates at their graduation celebration, McPherson said he plans to tell them just that — high school isn't the real world.
"I want to tell them to follow their hearts," McPherson said. "They have to find their own passion in life."
There is one goal that McPherson is sure of, though, and that is to repay his mom for everything that she has done for him.
"My mom has high expectations for me," McPherson said. "I just always wanted to exceed them so I can take care of her some day."