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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Erin Andrew credits Mica Peak for turning his life around: “It’s weird to be actually good at school”

Erin Andrews in the notable graduate from Mica Peak. (COURTESY OF MICA PEAK / COURTESY OF MICA PEAK)
By Ian Davis-Leonard For The Spokesman-Review

At school, Erin Andrew is the type of guy to stand up for others and push everyone to be their best. In the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, Andrew is a Dragonborn Paladin who intimidates through his big presence.

“I may not play a fighter, because I think it’s important to have some healing ability, but I always like being a front-line tank,” said Andrew, a senior at Mica Peak High School. “I’m always looking to help people.”

Andrew is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player. He has two weekly games and one biweekly game, as well as the sessions he plays with his family. He is also the co-founder of Mica Peak’s Dungeons and Dragons club.

“(Leading the club) kind of expanded him to work with different kids,” John Griffiths, Andrew’s leadership teacher at Mica Peak, said. “I know initially it was tough (for Erin), because when you’re in charge of it … people don’t always listen all the time.”

Andrew took the challenges in stride and created a community for himself and others.

This wasn’t always the type of student Andrew was. In middle school, he was a self-proclaimed bully. He spent his first year of high school at Central Valley High. On one of his final days at the school he had to break up a fight between two of his friends.

That was the breaking point for Andrew; he made the decision to switch to Mica Peak.

“When I came (to Mica Peak), first day I got a hug from my now-best friend, so first day I was here really turned me around,” Andrew said. “I knew it was going to be great.”

Since enrolling at Mica Peak, academics has become easier for him.

“It’s weird to be actually good at school,” Andrew said with a proud smile. “Such a different learning style, because you feel so connected with the teachers. I can ask them questions.”

While he must wait until June to graduate officially, Andrew was able to complete his Mica Peak education a trimester early.

Along with succeeding in school and founding the Dungeons and Dragons club, Andrew has been an integral part of Mica Peak’s leadership team since his sophomore year.

“(He’s) a kid who came into our program really shy, really to himself, really quiet, and he found his niche in our diverse program of students and you saw this kid blossom,” Griffith said.

At Mica Peak, Andrew found a cohort of friends who have helped him to succeed and whom he pushes to be their best, as well.

“I’d like to think I’m friends with everyone here,” Andrew said. “Everyone knows me, and I know everyone.”

In the fall, Andrew will continue his education at Spokane Falls Community College. He plans to study audio engineering with hopes of becoming a sound technician. He credits his three years at Mica Peak for getting him there.

“I’m never going to forget (my Mica Peak experience),” Andrew said. “It’s absolutely turned my life around and to be honest, I don’t know if I’d be alive without it.”

Ian Davis-Leonard is a student at Gonzaga University.