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Popularity doesn't require alcohol

"As a sophomore in high school, I lost a close friend in a car accident. It suddenly dawned on me that I too could lose my life, my future. I feel fortunate for what I have accomplished and I don't want anything to ruin my future plans."

I asked Tyler what advice he would offer to a teenager entering high school, reminding him that not everyone is the captain of the football team, super popular and gifted with his likeable personality.

"No matter where you find yourself, never stop believing in yourself," Tyler said. "If you consistently do this, others will believe in you too and you will make good things happen."

I asked Tyler what the high points of his life so far were.

"I would say quarterbacking my football team at the finals at Syracuse University has to be right up there. Seeing my baby sister the day after she was born was unforgettable and with graduation around the corner, a sense that I am starting something new and important."

"My biggest regret is that I did not study more," he added. "My generation has been handed some pretty big challenges and I hope that we are up to those challenges."

My impression is that Tyler Blaise is truly a likeable and accomplished young person. The adults that know him support him and are confident that he will be a success in life. His words of advice about believing in ourselves are wise words that we might all take to heart. He mentioned playing in the "dome" at Syracuse as a life highlight even though his team lost. I would speculate that Tyler is one of those resilient people that can often see the positive in most situations; a powerful life skill that will serve him well in future endeavors.

Tyler has demonstrated that it is possible to be really cool and not use alcohol; no small feat given the immense pressure to drink in high school! As I walked down the hall with Tyler, many underclassmen walked by and spoke to him. Tyler enjoys an obvious and palpable respect in his school. From what I know of Tyler Blaise, it seems like he has earned it. Remember, all kids count.

Scot Hurlburt can be reached by e-mail at hurlburt@wildblue.net

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