WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — In a place where dreams are born, Carlos Soto-Castillo relies on his faith to direct his path.

“Whatever God gives me, I’m happy,” said Soto-Castillo.

In pursuit of his dreams, the first-generation American has faced some nightmares.

“Around middle school, my house burned down,” said Soto-Castillo. “I feel like I was a slow learner a little bit during that time. It was difficult, and Spanish wasn’t that great, and my English wasn’t that great.”

Soto-Castillo found refuge in a universal language, music.

“That’s when I started, like, middle school band, concert band,” said Soto-Castillo. “It kind of gave me that access of going somewhere else during school.”

Soto-Castillo’s skill as a middle school alto saxophonist paved the way for his role as a high school drum major. The leadership also helped boost his confidence in the classroom. He now has a 3.6-grade point average.

As he prepares to graduate from Godwin Heights High School, Soto-Castillo looks to earn a degree that will boost a career in construction management.

Most off, he said he wants to give back to the people who gave so much to him.

“I just want to give as much as I can for my family,” said Soto-Castillo.

He’ll do so while continuing to march to the beat of his own drum.