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At Riverside High, Nick Snyder embraces challenges

Nicholas Snyder is set to  graduate  from Riverside High School. (COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE HIGH / COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE HIGH)
Nicholas Snyder is set to graduate from Riverside High School. (COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE HIGH / COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE HIGH)

Nick Snyder loves to challenge himself with everything from performing in school plays to participating in Socratic seminars. Challenging himself is a way to defy the expectations.

As a young child, Snyder was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. After moving to the Chattaroy area in elementary school, he said he had difficulty making new friends.

“I didn’t feel like anybody at the time particularly understood me,” Snyder said. “I was very bad at making new friends.”

He talked to his mother, who suggested he give a presentation to his class about Asperger’s. His twin sister, Grace, who does not have her brother’s form of autism, said the presentation helped his classmates understand his disability better. That ultimately gave Snyder the confidence to challenge himself.

Now a senior at Riverside High School, Snyder has maintained a 3.2 GPA and challenged himself by taking Advanced Placement classes for college credit. His passion for words has contributed to his AP Literature class, said English teacher Sheila Messich.

“He has such insightful comments that he contributes to our philosophical discussions in English class,” Messich said. “He really just has this deep understanding of human relationships.”

Snyder said his passion for writing comes from the “curiosity over the fictional world” that writers create.

“It’s like making art with words,” Snyder said. “It’s a very personal sort of activity that I can take joy in.”

Snyder also has excelled in the Spanish courses he has taken in high school. He was recognized as an honoree in the World Languages division of the 2016 Spokane Scholars Banquet.

“It was actually very surprising,” Snyder said. “I found it very nice and actually rewarding to have my skills recognized for the work I put in over four years.”

Snyder hopes he can use his Spanish skills after high school so he can speak with more people.

“Considering how good I am at it, I think I might pursue a career in it,” Snyder said. “I haven’t decided upon it yet, but I do think that I would like to pursue a career that involves using that language.”

Snyder also is drawn to video games and graphic design. He believes his interest in creating “pixel art” has the potential for success.

“I’ve never really considered myself an artist,” he said. “But it is something I would like to refine and perhaps earn a career in.”

Whatever he decides to do, Messich believes Snyder will thrive because of his “friendly, amiable personality.”

“Some people might think social skills might be lacking, but I don’t really see that,” Messich said. “He overcomes it in so many ways.”

Snyder uses Asperger’s as a way to prove others wrong.

“Asperger’s isn’t a yes or no sort of a syndrome,” Snyder said. “There are varying levels of it, definitely. Just because they have this one defining factor of them does not mean that factor is all they are.”


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