Featured graduating senior Kyle GanoungKyle Ganoung is BGHS’ featured senior

There are hundreds of seniors set to graduate from Battle Ground High School this year, and we’re proud of and impressed by each and every one of them! We interviewed one outstanding graduate from each of our district high schools about what their plans are now that they’ve completed their high school education, what advice they’d give to next year’s freshman class, and to share their favorite high school memories.

Kyle Ganoung was selected by BGHS’ leadership team to be featured as an outstanding graduate. Below are Kyle’s responses, in his own words. Congratulations Kyle and all the other graduates on reaching this important milestone, and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

What are your plans post-graduation?

I have many plans I wish to act upon during my next few years. Even though they are far away they still are within reason. I know who I am and who I want to be. It took many demanding trials and life lessons that I had learned the hard way. Yet through it all, I will be attending Oregon State in the fall on a full ride Navy ROTC scholarship with the promise of serving as an officer for the Marine Corps. I plan on getting my degree in physics and to apply it to everyday life.

Who has been the most influential teacher or school administrator from your high school experience? How did they have an impact/what lessons did you take away from them?

I have had many people impact my life. I have had friends who became family, family who became my coaches, and through it all, they are all my teachers. My ROTC instructors helped me through my personal endeavors, which sometimes resulted in tragedy. Yet they stayed, giving me insight into how to use my life experiences to shape me into the person I want to be. I had a coach that became my counselor because I was one of her runners. Teaching me to hold onto who I am and let my life be determined by only me.

Coach Ryan Schwartz, a family friend who I’ve known my entire life, helped me through the trials and tribulations of running. He watched me grow and develop, helping me achieving my goals even through pain and injury. He taught me to run and to keep going, to never stop, never slow down, and never quit. From the first time I ran with him down the mountain, he was beating me. He paced me and told me I couldn’t walk, that I needed to push through. He helped me and I learned that one of the most important lessons a runner can learn is “run with your heart.”

Coach and counselor Sheryl Piper taught me what it meant to be a captain. She taught me the phrase “Running and Being,” which is also the title of a book she lent to me. She taught me that I am a runner, and that the difference between running for fun and running to compete doesn’t exist. Those who run to compete are running for fun. The true difference as she taught me is that “those who are forced to run are just running, those that run for the love of it are being.” She also taught me that running isn’t all about the numbers.

My ROTC instructors, Chief Master Sergeant Charles Shannon and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Woodrow, taught me you can’t control everything. Some lessons in life you learn from struggle, and it’s how you adapt to the struggle that makes you a leader. The development of character is not something that comes overnight. They taught me the definition of leadership and that it comes with great responsibility. The sense of accomplishment they helped instill in me will carry on forever. The pride that I hold from their teachings is something that won’t be lost.

The one thing I will remember the most from them is when they told me “Life is like a bus. The bus doesn’t stop. Some people get on the bus and some people get off the bus. It was just their stop.” That’s not exactly what they said, but the point is about the people in your life. It refers to those who impact your life and can change the way you think and feel. High school was a bus stop, the people in high school were a bus stop. Now, my bus is set to carry me onto the next thing, which for me is college. While it took some time to sink in, I now truly understand the lessons they were teaching me. And for that, I say thank you. Thank you for coaching me and for teaching me life lessons, even if I didn’t fully understand them at first.Kyle Ganoung Running

What kinds of extracurricular activities did you participate in during your high school career?

I was a:

  • Captain of Battle Ground Cross Country and Track and field
  • ROTC Physical Fitness Officer
  • National History Day State Competitor
  • 3x Top 10 Division Champion 4A GSHL Cross Country
  • Top 100 Regional Champion All-League in State Cross Country
  • Top 50 regional champion All-League to state Cross Country
  • Top 200 all state all division Cross Country champion
  • 4x GSHL academic Honors recipient
  • 3x All League Cross Country Team recipient
  • All State Cross Country 2nd team
  • Recipient of The National Air Commando Association Award
  • 2x League Champion ROTC Strength Team Competition
  • 2x Division Champion ROTC Strength Team Competition
  • Regional Team Champions of Strength Team
  • League Team Champions of Strength Team
  • Leader of the Armed Demonstration Team
  • Commander of the Armed Drill Team
  • Kitty Hawk Air Society

What was your favorite memory from high school?

Kyle Ganoung competing in Cross CountryIt was homecoming night, and the feeling was there the moment I woke up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday. I was feeling amped up and ready for the postseason cross country competition and the last chance for this small town senior to leave my mark as a cross country runner. For the first time in years, the varsity boys had made it past the first round of eliminations, placing third in the district. I knew I needed to place in the top-50 to make it as a single qualifier at the state championships. So as we are driving down to the Wayside Classic (regionals), the nerves were getting to us. Coach Schwartz was playing the verbal race game, where we watch cars pass the team van and verbally say what we would do to beat them if we were running a race against them. After a couple more hours of singing at the top of our lungs, we arrived at the race.

I remember nothing up until I was at the starting line. Once there, I looked as far right as I could see, and then to my left. I was the lead in the box, the front runner for my team. I told myself I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes as in years past when I got boxed in by other runners. I got on my knee and prayed, and as I finished, the starting gun went off. There’s something about the feeling of the gun going off that gives you an instant thrill. Then, you hear thousands of steps all at once, countless feet all running toward the goal of being the best. And with every step, every mile, the thing you’re all striving for gets closer and closer.

Three miles of gruesome, pain ridden racing later, I could see the finish line. Coach Schwartz was just screaming at me “KYLE!! DON’T LOOK BACK!! GO! GO! GOOOO!!!!” And I’m hauling. I can’t feel my legs, and the pain was almost too intense to bare. I’m exhausted, my breathing pattern struggling, my pace gone, my stride diminishing. I had held 32nd place position for basically the entire race. I could literally see my goal coming up just around the next corner.

I had a pack right behind me that could’ve easily overtaken me. Coach Donovan was screaming “HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?!” I pushed and pushed and pushed, and with the last little bit of kick I had left, I propelled myself across the line, finishing 42nd and a mere 4 seconds away from not qualifying for state. My race was over, and I was going to the state championships! I cried hearing the announcer say “Congratulations gentleman, you’re going to state.” I jumped over the sidelines to hug my mother. She said “I am so proud of you, Kyle” and those words are what made this day the very best day. My mom and I cried together for what felt like a long time. As my coaches ran up to me and congratulated me, my coach and family friend, Mr. Schwartz was also crying because his runner made it to state. Two weeks later, I was walking down the halls of BGHS with a state send-off by all the students and staff lining the halls.

What advice would you give to incoming freshman about high school?

If someone had told me when I was a freshman that I would accomplish everything I have by the time I finished high school, I would’ve told them that they were crazy. So, I say to them: trust yourself, trust the process, trust the path in which you walk. I would also tell them not to be overconfident, because someone out there can always do more than you.

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