Tidd makes his own mark on IHS

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May 3, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Valedictorian Jason Tidd describes leaving high school in one word: “bittersweet.”
“While I’m ready to start a new chapter, I’m going to miss a lot of things about high school,” Tidd said, especially the personalized attention from teachers and faculty, as well as a small enough student population to get to know most of his classmates.
Ending a high school experience highlighted by excellence in academics as well as working as a co-editor of the high school paper and playing in the band, Tidd has been able to excel even through hard times. While he has enjoyed these luxuries afforded by small town living, he has also been able to travel to New York City with the high school band as well as to Washington, D.C., for a “history bowl,” introducing him to large cities and many famous historical sites.
One of the projects that Tidd has been most proud of in his high school career has been reviving the student newspaper, the IHS Messenger, which had not printed since about 2009. “I remember being in 8th grade and reading the paper,” he said. “I always thought that it may be something I would work on when I started in high school.” As co-editor, Tidd said he thinks his classmates have appreciated the paper since its resurgence and enjoy reading it in their downtime. “It gives us a chance to showcase all the talent that we have in the school,” he said.
As a tenor and alto saxophone player, Tidd’s experience in the school band has been a formative part of his high school years as well as the source of many friends. Tidd hopes to continue playing the saxophone in the marching band at Kansas State University, where he will be attending university in the fall.
“I can’t wait to watch all those football games and basketball games from the bandstand,” he said.
Tidd grew up in Iola as one of six children. He comes third in birth order, after two brothers and with one younger brother and two younger sisters at home. Their mother, Julie Tidd, died last year on Mother’s Day, after a long battle with cancer. While her death was a clear challenge for Jason as well as the rest of his siblings and their father, David TIdd, “I now have even stronger relationships with everybody else,” Jason said, celebrating the family’s strong bonds.
Julie Tidd was a band director and clearly passed her love for music along to Jason and his siblings. She also had an interest in journalism which may have rubbed off on her middle son as well. “I remember her correcting my papers in middle school,” Jason said. “She used to have tons of corrections and then after a while she would tell me my writing was getting better and better.” Jason will start as a communications major at KSU, following this passion for journalism.
David Tidd works as a mailman as well as a part-time farmer and a leader of a home Bible group. A strong faith in God has been a life-long support for Jason and one that he believes will help him as he leaves high school and moves on to a new chapter in his life.
Tidd said he considered both K-State and the University of Kansas for college. “I’d say I’m a convert from KU,” he said, recalling his previous attraction to the Lawrence-based campus for its sports teams and academics. But during his visits to both campuses, “K-State just felt more like home.” Paired with the fact that K-State was going to be less expensive and qualified him for more scholarships, the decision became clear.
According to Tidd, about a dozen of his classmates seem to be making the same decision, including the other three valedictorians, which will make leaving their home in Iola a little less difficult.
“We’ll probably stick together, especially for the first year,” Tidd said, who has already chosen to room with his best friend from high school for their first year. “I figure I will go there the first year and then see where that takes me,” Tidd said, trying to remain open to what will happen and allow his faith to guide him to whatever seems most fitting after that. Tidd said he may consider joining the debate team and is interested in studying abroad.
Tidd is looking forward to early guidance from former IHS graduates already at K-State. “They’ll at least be able to tell us which math professors don’t let you use calculators and which are the best lecturers.”
Moving from a town of 6,700 to a city of 54,000 and from a high school with fewer than 350 students to a university with over 23,800, Tidd knows he’s in for a major change. With a strong academic background, Tidd’s biggest concerns are more about finances than academics. Even with several scholarships in hand, Tidd knows he’s going to have to work hard to put himself through college. He has been working about 30 hours a week at Walmart to save up for college and expects to spend his summers working so he can focus on schoolwork through the academic year. He plans to apply for more scholarships as he continues throughout college, hoping to avoid taking out student loans.
Otherwise, Tidd is feeling pretty calm and confident about the move. “There have been many others that have successfully done it before,” he said, “I think I can, too.”

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