Central Valley High School senior Gaven Deyarmin looks like any other teenage boy walking through the halls wearing shorts, a T-shirt and a bulging backpack – that is, until you see the scars on his legs.
The scars are from what Deyarmin calls his first near-death experience. It was the summer before seventh grade and he was hiking near Lake Roosevelt with his family when he fell about 10 feet off a cliff. “A whole bunch of rocks came down on top of me,” he said. Given the remote location, help was a long time coming. He broke his clavicle and femur and has a long scar down his thigh where his femur was repaired.
The scars from his second near-death experience aren’t as visible. The summer before his junior year Deyarmin was on a cruise with his family when he got sick. He was told it was the flu. “My appendix had burst,” he said. “I went about four days on the cruise with that.”
By the time he got home his skin and eyes were yellow, and it took two abdominal surgeries to repair. His doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to play football that year, but Deyarmin didn’t listen. He had played football for four years and wasn’t about to miss a season. He worked hard at rehabilitating the stomach muscles sliced by the surgeon’s scalpel. He was back in uniform about two months later, but found himself being cautious as his coaches worried about how he would handle being hit in the stomach.
The test came during his first game back after he threw a pass. “I caught a big defensive end in the stomach,” he said. Deyarmin was fine. “I actually only missed three games that year.”
Deyarmin has also played basketball for 10 years and last year joined the track team to do the long jump. That first season on the track team he qualified for regionals. “I wanted to focus on getting stronger and faster in football and basketball,” Deyarmin said of adding track to his résumé. “It worked very well.”
He likes to play sports because he likes competition and likes being physical, Deyarmin said. “I like the team atmosphere. It definitely takes a whole team to achieve milestones.”
He plans to take pre-dental classes at Eastern Washington University in the fall. He’s been offered a spot on the track team and plans to walk on the football team, Deyarmin said. Though he has played basketball the longest, he has no plans to play in college. “I need to be a little taller,” he said. “I never saw myself as a college basketball player. Football was always number one.”
Deyarmin said he owes his success not only to his family, coaches and teachers, but also his fellow students. “They all offered me an excellent opportunity to succeed,” he said.
While he helps score wins as a quarterback and as a guard on the basketball court, Deyarmin is no slouch in the classroom, either. He holds a 3.92 grade-point average and talks about his lone A-minus and B-plus like a fisherman who complains about the one that got away. “They’re always bothersome,” he said.
He comes from a family of teachers and it was made clear to him that good grades were expected. But Deyarmin said he has also pushed himself to do well. “I don’t like to fail in any aspect,” he said. “I like to overachieve wherever I can.”
In overachieving, at least, he has a solid 4.0.