Unique Accomplishments at Eagle Valley High School | VailDaily.com
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Unique Accomplishments at Eagle Valley High School

Cindy Ramunno
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyFrom left, Chris Brandl, Jake Best, James Ewing, Jill Ewing. All four seniors at EVHS, have set and achieved high goals.
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Some high school kids just jump through the required hoops to get to the graduation ceremony. Others find an interest and jump on it ” with determination and hard work. At 18 years old, those few end up with a life skill others may never have. Those unique accomplishments help develop high self-esteem and more importantly ” productive, successful citizens. Jake Best, Jill Ewing, Chris Brandl and James Ewing have each set and reached personal goals. Though they are all different accomplishments, they are all of critical importance in today’s society.

To protect and serve

Jake Best is already an emergency medical technician and firefighter for the Gypsum and Eagle fire departments. He started working as a firefighter volunteer for Gypsum at just 13 years of age. He’s heading to Mesa State College this fall to pursue a degree in criminal justice. This summer, he’ll work for Big Steve’s Towing, which he has done every summer for the past three years. Best says he’s always been interested in emergency services, but his mom’s place of work solidified that interest even further. Best’s mom, Tanny McGinnis, works at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

“The guys who work with my mom are great,” Best says. “I got to participate in ride-alongs and see firsthand what they did in their jobs,”

Best also credits the fire departments for helping with his career choice. His mother knew her son would go into emergency sevices when he was just a little toddler.

“All of his Hot Wheels were fire trucks and ambulances,” McGinnis says. “As a community, we are so blessed to have the Gypsum and Eagle fire departments, the town of Eagle’s police department and the Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies. Their interaction with kids is amazing. For Jake, being from a single-parent home, those guys were his heroes and mentors who created high expectations for him.”

Best will live with family in Grand Junction and is looking forward to making new friends.

“I think the classes at EVHS that have prepared me the most for my pursuit are the government and history classes,” he says. “Those classes have built a background for my future studies.”

Spreading his wings

James Ewing is officially not very grounded. He got his pilot’s license at the beginning of his senior year and has been flying ever since. “Flying was always a big passion for my dad,” Ewing says. “After retirement, he bought a small airplane and got his license.” Glenn Ewing would take his son flying, then allowed him to take lessons and get the license. The test consists of a written exam, which requires answers to 60 out of a selection of 3,000 questions. Then, oral and practical exams follow. “You also have to develop a flight plan from flying maps,” Ewing says. Ewing served as captain of the high school’s boys’ golf and Nordic ski teams for the past few years. He is also president of the National Honor Society. This fall, he’ll attend flight school in Prescott, Ariz. at Emery Riddle Aeronautical University.

A model citizen

Chris Brandl became an Eagle Scout one year ago. “I started in Cub Scouts when I was really little, and then went all the way through,” he says. Brandl has always attends Eagle County schools, starting at Red Sandstone Elementary, and then moving to Gypsum Elementary School in the third grade. As for being an Eagle Scout, he’s modest in his explanation. “My parents motivated me a lot,” he says. Brandl is heading to Western State College in Gunnison this fall. His favorite teacher at Eagle Valley High School was Eric Mandeville.

“Chris is a young man who has proved to be an excellent role model for his peers and the younger members of Eagle County, not only in the classroom, but also on the alpine ski race course and lacrosse field,”Mandeville says. “Knowing Chris completed his Eagle Scout Award is even more impressive, and as an Eagle Scout myself, I know the dedication it takes to obtain such a special award.”

On track to true athleticism

Nordic skiing is tough. To make it to a national competition and place at that competition is extremely difficult. But that’s just what senior Jill Ewing did. Ewing started Nordic skiing in the seventh grade. After she entered high school, she was unstoppable. “Once I joined the team at Eagle Valley, I just loved it so much,” she says. Then, during Ewing’s junior and senior years, she began racing in the Rocky Mountain Division and U.S. Ski Association races. “Last year, I didn’t hit all races to make it to nationals,” Ewing says, although she later found out that she could have qualified to go, but her father (and high school Nordic ski coach, Glenn Ewing) wanted her best efforts at the high school state competition.

“She’s a steady athlete,” says athletic director Dave Scott. “She’s also our leading golfer.” This year was a different story after Ewing joined Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and went on to compete in national competition in California. During the classic race, she placed 20th and in the relay race (5K for each skier), she placed fifth with her relay team.

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