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Leading by example

TuHS junior Oliver Price is a leader on the field, in the classroom and in the community


Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oliver Price is a star both on the athletic field and in the classroom.For 16-year-old Oliver Price, giving back to his community and trying his best have never been a consideration, they're just what's made sense. The Tualatin High School junior put his reasoning very simply: He benefited from programs as a kid, so why shouldn't he try to help others benefit, as well?

“It feels good to give back to something you were a part of and help create things that you believe in,” he said. “As a person in today's society, it feels good to give back and help things that you were a part of.”

For Price, these programs range far and wide, from helping out with the youth wrestling program to volunteering for the summer Gang Resistance and Education Training (GREAT) Program to participating in the child development program through TuHS. He's also busy practicing and competing in two varsity sports a year, all while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

The GREAT Program, put on by the city of Tualatin, is one that Price participated in years ago, and that last summer he volunteered for. As a high school student, he takes a stand against drugs and alcohol and felt it was only right to try and be a role model for younger students the way others were for him.

“There was one guy in particular, and he always used to come with us and eat lunch with us, and play dodgeball with us and everything,” Price said. “(Then), the kids asked if I could sit with them at lunch, and I was like, 'Oh yeah, I remember when that volunteer sat with me.'”

Price approaches much of his outreach in this way; if he remembers what it felt like for someone to help him, he wants to do what he can to help others in the same way. It's for this reason that he'll often hang out after wrestling practice to help out the kids participating in the youth wrestling program, something he formerly participated in, as well. And even when he's participating in the sport himself, he's a leader and always tries to keep morale up regardless of the outcome.Photo Credit: TIMES PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oliver Price is a 4.0 student at Tualatin High, where he studies advanced coursework.

“He's just one of the hardest working kids I've seen. He just has a huge amount of grit,” said TuHS wrestling coach Matt Hamilton. “I wouldn't hesitate to put Ollie against anybody, any size. Win or lose, I know he's gonna give me everything and leave it all out, whether he's in the classroom, on the football field or on the wrestling mat.”

The most recent football season with TuHS was a difficult one, as the team lost all of its games. However, Price said he still managed to keep a positive spirit, and the seniors on the team thought so, too. The varsity center was awarded “The Hammer,” a black and red-painted sledge hammer that's been passed down from seniors to a select junior for years, symbolizing contact, aggressiveness and leadership.

“I've always tried to be a leader in my class, and I felt like maybe they recognized that and saw me as a leader as well, and are hoping I can continue to lead our football team,” Price said. “It was huge, honestly. Those two kids — I really respect those kids — and for them to look me in the eyes and say, 'We trust you, we want you to do what you can do and see how great you're gonna be,' it was pretty cool.”

Price takes this role seriously. He knows others look up to him and wants to ensure he's being his best self in order to provide the best direction for those looking on. It's this attitude that his wrestling coach so admires, as well.

“I think a lot of it is a choice. Everything is a choice, and each choice brings consequences, sometimes they're bad and sometimes they're good. He's making choices that are going to benefit him,” Hamilton said. “In high school, that's a hard thing to do, because you have other individuals doing other things that are possibly not good. That's a hard position to be in at times, but he's just driven. I love it, and it's contagious. He brings everybody else up.”

Though Price is responsible and a leader through sports, at school and in the community, some elements about him are quintessential teenager. When a guest asked if they could see his bedroom, he tried to steer them in another direction, concerned about its cleanliness. His mom was concerned, too, and took the opportunity to remind him why keeping a clean room is so important. Some things, no matter how hard-working the student, are difficult to change.

But his room looked just as it should. Sports trophies on a shelf, stickers for Oregon Statue University and TuHS on the window, letters from prospective colleges in a stack on his desk. A quintessential high school student, but one who does his part to lead those around him.

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