Sultan High School’s annual Academic Achievement Awards Ceremony is an end-of-the-year opportunity for teachers to recognize their students for outstanding performance throughout the school year. During this year’s ceremony, there was a teacher whose presentation was so heartfelt, she found herself choked with emotion as she described this student’s accomplishments.
Tyler Aamold was that student.
It wasn’t just that Tyler is a great student who cares about what’s going on around him that so impressed his teacher. It’s the fact that when faced with challenges and adversity, Tyler doesn’t just sit back and lament the brutal reality that life can be difficult. Instead, the 17-year-old looks for ways to be of service and works to promote and encourage positive change. From a new fundraising initiative to improving relations between the school district and the community, the recently-elected senior class president has much on his agenda for the 2017 – 2018 school year.
A lifelong Sky Valley resident, Tyler lives in Startup with his parents and younger brother, Kegan. Serving his community has long been a priority for Tyler, who has been volunteering for years. Much of his heart for service stems from his close relationship with his grandfather, Art King.
His grandfather would give the shirt off his back if somebody needed it more than he did, Tyler said.
“He was one of the main reasons I wanted to get out and serve my community,” Tyler said. “He is a good role model for me.”
Tyler has been a repeat volunteer at Sultan’s Veterans Day Ceremony and has volunteered during VFW Post 2554’s Thanksgiving Dinner event. Last year his community service extended down into Monroe, thanks to his participation in Snohomish County Fire District 7’s Explorer program. In addition to broadening his level of outreach, his time as an Explorer gave him a taste of what firefighting is all about, helping to propel him towards a possible career in the fire service.
During the upcoming school year, the aspiring firefighter will navigate a split schedule, taking classes at Sultan High School and then commuting to Sno-Isle TECH in Everett, where he is enrolled in the Fire Service Technology program.
In addition to focusing on his classes, his time at the high school will be devoted to serving his fellow students through his role as ASB president. Last year, Tyler became alarmed by disturbing trends identified in the most recent Healthy Youth Survey, a bi-annual student survey initiated by the state. The survey, which targets students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades, revealed high rates of depression, suicide ideation and intense feelings of aloneness.
And it wasn’t just numbers on a piece of paper that struck Tyler, it was things he observed going on around him. So he decided to do something about it.
He formed the beginnings of a student crisis support group, which he hopes to fully implement this year. The group will work to promote the importance of reaching out for help and will provide information on suicide prevention resources. He hopes to incorporate classroom presentations with guest speakers to discuss what a student should do if they are having suicidal thoughts.
“If it helps one person, it’s totally worth it,” Tyler said.
Other items on his presidential agenda include initiating a fundraising campaign to help ensure that finances are never a barrier for students who wish to attend school events, a community relations effort to establish a more robust partnership between the school district and the community, and a schoolwide beautification initiative to help improve school aesthetics.
The school could host volunteer cleanup events, Tyler said, during which kids could earn some of the community service hours they need to graduate.
Overall, he hopes to have a lasting impact that truly makes a difference.
“I want to leave a legacy at this school,” Tyler said.