Coleman Boyer was a sophomore when he learned the most important lesson of his life.
It came not from a teacher, but from classmate Layne Woolley, a courageous and kind youth who taught those around him to always live in the moment and be gracious no matter the circumstance. Woolley died in January 2008 after battling cancer. He was 16 years old.
For those people Woolley touched in life, his lessons live on.
“He was a big influence in my life,” Boyer said. “He had such a positive attitude on life. I’ve just learned to adopt that way of life and live it to the fullest.”
Boyer is one of the valedictorians for the graduating class at Coeur d’Alene High School. According to his teachers, the 18-year-old was an exceptional student in the classroom, earning a 4.52 grade-point average through the International Baccalaureate program, while also providing leadership in the various activities he was involved in at the school, including the student council, the National Honors Society and the Human Rights Club.
“He is kind of an academic leader in the building. He has a zeal to want to learn more,” said Mike Nelson, vice principal and director of the International Baccalaureate program at Coeur d’Alene High. “He’s been on the honors track since the day he walked on the campus … I think he is indeed in the top 1 percent of graduates at our school.”
Known as a compassionate and understanding student, Boyer also served his hometown as a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council for the city of Hayden. The students provided “a youthful perspective on the events and things in the community,” Boyer said. The youth council may have offered a glimpse into his future career, too. “It was a good introduction to city politics, which I’m pretty interested in,” Boyer said.
Hayden Mayor Ron McIntire said Boyer’s mature outlook and grasp on politics also provided unique insights on the council.
“For a boy his age, he is very mature, very thoughtful and has a lot of sense,” McIntire said. “He’s the kind of person you want on the city council or as mayor or any sort of government. He’s a very smart kid.”
Boyer plans on studying prelaw at the University of Oregon. He received several scholarships, including the dean’s and honors scholarships.
Boyer, who has an older brother Brad, said he’d like to thank his parents for providing encouragement throughout his academic career. “They’ve been so supportive and have set a good example for me,” he explained.
While textbooks, teachers and heaps of schoolwork played a crucial part in guiding Boyer’s college plans, he said it’s just as important that he carries on the teachings of his friend, Woolley. Though high school is a place full of life, where students are eager to get out into the real world and apply the lessons they’ve learned in practical settings, Woolley’s example is a lasting reminder on how to live life for many of the students at Coeur d’Alene High, Boyer said.
“Those are the things that are important, to live life and embrace every moment of it,” he said.