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'Getting that different perspective'
by Garrett Valenzuela
Mar 25, 2013 | 2591 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School sophomore Alan Graham
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School sophomore Alan Graham
SPARKS — After tallying his middle school years at O’Brien Middle School in Reno, Alan Graham grew increasingly timid as his first day of high school approached. Instead of heading to his originally zoned North Valleys High, Graham and his family made the move to Sparks and began his upper-grade career at Reed High.

Graham, now in his sophomore year at Reed, anticipated a rough transition to high school while being a stranger to the Sparks area. When asked what he has enjoyed most about his time in school so far he said the support of the people has been number one.

“I have to say the people,” Graham said. “The teachers, the friends, the volunteers and everyone here is very supportive and you can always find people who will support you no matter what situation. I have made so many friends that I never would have had. I came from O’Brien Middle School and I made so many friends so quickly.”

Graham wasted no time getting involved around campus by jumping into student government, where he is running for vice president of the coming school year, and Leadership in addition to his full load of Honors courses. Though this year is his first official year in Leadership, he has been highly involved in school activities allowing him to find people just like him.

“What (Leadership) has taught me is that I thought I was one of the few people who was going out and doing stuff, but there are a lot of people who are just like me and want to do stuff like that,” Graham said. “I have made a lot more friends, I have learned to speak stronger about my opinions and how to handle situations and help people while still leading them.

“I have seen a lot more opportunities become available to me as well, such as different community service (projects) around town. It opens up a lot of windows I never thought were there before.”

One of Graham’s most prized roles at Reed is handling the technical lighting for the school’s theater performances. What began as “something to do” while his twin brother rehearsed for the shows after school, turned into a hobby for Graham that he hopes will provide him job options while attending college.

“Anytime I saw a stage show or production, I have always been interested in the lights,” he said. “I would be one of the people looking up at the box looking to see what they use and how they are doing it. It is a good getaway from school. I get to do more hands-on work now than I ever got to do.

“I get to see a different side of shows that no one else gets to see. Whenever I am telling anyone about it or I show anyone some of the things I do, they never knew this is the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. I like always getting that different perspective that no one else gets to have.”

Graham has spent his summers visiting his father in Seattle, Wash. where he grew fond of the summer camps he attended as a child. As a 16-year-old though, he has found a new way to enjoy a similar camp while practicing skills he brings back to Reed.

“I am a junior counselor and I get to learn good ways to deal with kids, and I always have fun dealing with kids,” Graham said. “It’s funny and a worthwhile experience. If you ask anyone who has ever been a counselor there they say it’s like nothing you have ever done.

“You get to be out experiencing new places and not just sitting at home watching TV. I get to learn good ways to keep people entertained, have fun and be a leader. We have weekly meetings where we discuss ideas and we are in charge of setting up camp-wide games.”

With a couple more years to go before venturing into his higher education goals, Graham is still debating what college he would like to attend after high school. He said scholarship money will play a major role in his decision and that his future profession is still up in the air.

“I have always been interested in being an orthodontist, which has a lot of irony to it because I have been to the dentist a lot,” he said. “I have also thought that I would make a good lawyer because I am always good with arguments, discussions and debates. I can always be respectful of my opponent and I have heard people say I would be a good lawyer.”

Graham said he plans to delve further into his career choice as early as this summer to weigh the options and avenues of each. In the meantime, Graham keeps his brain busy outside of school using his fascination with computer animation. He said that passion could become a profession for him, but for now he is happy with it as a hobby.

“I am big into gaming and movies and looking into the animation, how it works and the beauty of it,” he said. “I think it would be really fun to do things like that and get better at art to entertain people with computer animation to create something amazing.”
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