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Lakeside student believed in himself

Josh Lauderdale is a wrestler from Lakeside High School in the Nine Mile area. He plans to go to Stanford University. (Jesse Tinsley)
Josh Lauderdale is a wrestler from Lakeside High School in the Nine Mile area. He plans to go to Stanford University. (Jesse Tinsley)

Lakeside High School senior Josh Lauderdale knows something about low expectations.

When he was 6 and living with his family in Reardan, he was placed in a special-education class because he had great difficulty speaking, making himself understood and trouble with reading and writing. There he met a boy, a neighbor named Daniel Leavitt, and the two became friends.

Even though they just lived a few blocks apart, Leavitt would write him letters. “I thought that was pretty cool and tried to read them,” Lauderdale said. “Then my mother helped me write back. At first, it was a lot of scribble, but then it became actual letters.”

Eventually Lauderdale left special ed for regular classrooms, and the family moved to Nine Mile. “But during the time we were in school together, Daniel had difficulties in social situations, which I helped him with, and he helped me with reading and writing.”

Today the two are still friends. Leavitt – who is in band, runs cross country and plays baseball – is graduating with honors this spring with his senior class in Reardan. And Lauderdale is graduating with a 3.92 GPA from Lakeside, where he serves as National Honor Society president and executive ASB president, is an active participant in the Ignite Freshman mentor program and is the student representative to the Nine Mile Falls School Board. And he is a champion wrestler.

Wrestling is a Lauderdale family tradition. Father Barry wrestled for North Idaho. Big brother Jacob, 20, wrestles at Oregon State University. Younger brother JT, 16, also wrestles for Lakeside. Plus numerous uncles are wrestlers. Interestingly, Josh Lauderdale was not perceived to be very good at it.

But in his freshman year, he went to state competition and won his first match in overtime, his second by one point and his third (against the No. 1 wrestler at 140 pounds) in overtime to make it to the finals, where he was defeated. So here’s how his record went at state competition during his high school career – second in state in his freshman year, third in his sophomore year, second in his junior year and first in his senior year.

“No one saw it coming at first,” he said. “I was told I wasn’t as good as my brother and that not much was going to happen for me, but I saw it coming. I believed I could do it. And I guess after my freshman year, I wasn’t going to be able to sneak up on anybody again.

“I think I am what the product can be when you work hard and put your mind to it,” he added.

In addition to their wrestling tradition, the Lauderdales are also devotees of fly-fishing, and every weekend in the summer, they’re out somewhere fishing.

“It’s relaxing and brings peace,” Josh said. “Wherever there’s water, I’ll try to fly-fish it.”

In addition to his school activities, Lauderdale is involved with Suncrest Kids, a freestyle wrestling club, and coaches and referees for the Little Guys Wrestling Club. He also works part time (full time in the summers) as a truck fueler and washer at Spokane Produce, where his father is general manager. His mother, Lisa, is an insurance consultant.

This fall he is off to Stanford on a wrestling scholarship, the first student from Lakeside to attend Stanford, where he hopes to study mechanical or architectural engineering. “I always wanted to go to the best college for academics that I could,” Lauderdale said. “I want to be pushed and challenged.

“And, of course, I want to go to a good wrestling school.”

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