Vail Daily column: Youth leader doesn’t succumb to labels
Special to the Daily
High school hallways have a tendency to breed stereotypes and place students in specific clicks. From your first week of freshman year, you could be labeled as a jock, bookworm, thespian, tech-nerd, outcast, etc. These social pressures manifest insecurities and social injustice. It is normal for an impressionable underclassman to internalize these labels and get stuck sitting at the same stale cafeteria table throughout his or her entire high school experience.
Wade Ticer, a junior at Eagle Valley High School, chooses not to succumb to these stereotypical labels. Upon first introduction, his sturdy 6-foot build may give the impression that he is simply a well-spoken jock. Combine that with the fact that Ticer was the only ninth-grade student to secure a spot on the varsity baseball team, let alone start at the first-base position.
This would reinforce the stereotype, but as he begins to speak, it is apparent that there are greater depths to this compassionate, sincere and smart young man.
Academically, he is performing at the top of his class, earning a 4.3 grade point average. He has submerged himself into the student body and is a dedicated member of both DADD (Devils Against Destructive Decisions) and EVHS Booster Club.
Outside of school, he offers his free time coaching and mentoring aspiring young baseball players. During the summer, he umpires for local youth programs and is pretty lenient with his “strike” calls. He is a member of the local Young Life chapter and volunteers at the Eagle Salvation Army.
Ticer is passionate about environmental conservation and enjoys the many outlets that our valley provides. He is an accomplished hunter, fisherman and camper. Each Sunday, he volunteers multiple hours at the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in Eagle, where he contributes hard labor (spreading hay, digging trenches, cleaning stalls), but finds great enjoyment in his service to abused horses. He comments, “Taking care and looking after injured horses is one of the most rewarding things I have done. I have learned that the more you give to others, the more fulfillment you get out of life.”
We are quite fortunate to have such a confident young man in our community promoting healthy and selfless youth relationships. Ticer’s commitment to social justice and civic engagement are qualities that should be admired and mimicked by fellow students. It would be empowering if more kids followed Ticer’s lead in picking up their lunch trays and sitting at random cafeteria tables. The sooner high school students begin to embrace diversity, the closer we will be to eliminating unnecessary social isolation.
Upon graduation from EVHS, Ticer has aspirations of attending the Naval Academy. He would like to lace up the cleats and play collegiate ball. His positive morals and lofty value system align with the expectations of a Navy officer and the Academy would certainly benefit from having him on their campus. Naturally, he would wear both of the uniforms with pride.
Jason Peck is the project manager at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The Youth Leaders Council is a program of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers collaborative prevention programs and services to tackle three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth, including substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion, and academic achievement. In addition to Youth Leaders Council, Eagle River Youth Coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit http://www.eagleyouth.org.