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Leading a Simple Life to the Highest Summit

Updated: Jun 11

Leading a Simple Life to the Highest Summit

Deidra Bowling-Meade

The Ashland Beacon

As we gather to celebrate the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, one name stands out among the rest: Cole Christian. His journey through life thus far embodies the timeless wisdom encapsulated in the lyrics of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man" and the resolute spirit depicted in Jon Krakauer's novel Into Thin Air.

While “Simple Man” is full of valuable life advice, what it comes down to is the hook: “Be a simple kind of man / Oh, be something you love and understand.” Cole, much like the "Simple Man," epitomizes simplicity not in the mundane sense, but in the profound pursuit of understanding and embracing what truly matters in life. His interests and hobbies reflect this ethos, ranging from his passion for sports, particularly football and wrestling, to his love for the water and music.

Cole shared, “I’ve been in athletics since I was a little kid and eventually fell in love with football and wrestling. I also have a deep passion for the water. Some of my favorite activities in the summer are canoeing and rafting. Growing up, while most families went to the beach for vacation, I took trips to the New River Gorge and Big South Fork. I also love music. I started taking drum lessons when I was eight years old, and now I enjoy playing the bass and acoustic guitar.”

Through these pursuits, Cole finds joy and fulfillment, staying true to the essence of being a "simple kind of man." Simplicity isn't about being mediocre; it's about having a clear purpose and strong dedication. Cole's motivation stems from his relentless pursuit of excellence, both in academics and athletics. It's a drive fueled by a competitive spirit and a desire to make the most out of every opportunity.

Cole commented, “My motivation comes from my drive to be the best. I am a very competitive person and always want to achieve greatness. This feeling pushes me to try and get the most out of every day.”

  Cole also gave credit to the closeness of his family and how he was raised as defining his character, “My upbringing has influenced almost everything about who I am. I know my Dad instilled the quality of hard work into my life from a very young age. This attribute has helped me out throughout school, wrestling, and I’m sure into the future.” Cole’s older brother, Zane Christian, shares an unbreakable bond with Cole. The brothers are best friends, and Zane serves as a role model and coach for Cole. Zane proudly spoke of his brother, “Cole has one of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen him come home countless times from a grueling two hour football or wrestling practice and sit at the table doing calculus homework for another two hours. His passion for success is at the highest level. He wants to be the best version of himself and pushes for that everyday. Cole’s never gonna quit and is always going to give it his all.”

  Blazer school counselor and head football coach, Chad Tackett, added, “I’ve coached Cole since his 9th grade year. I’ve known him for several years. He is one of the best kids I’ve been around. He is no stranger to hard work. Not only is he a hard worker in football but also in the classroom and in his own personal life. He’s one of the those kids that you call if you need something done or work done for a friend or booster club member. He works extremely hard at everything he does.”

Not everything in life has come easy for Cole. He has faced challenges that tested his resilience and determination. From grappling with knee injuries that sidelined him from sports to navigating the complexities of academic rigor, he has emerged stronger by the unwavering support of family and friends. Cole's journey is reminiscent of the trials faced by the climbers in Cole’s favorite novel Into Thin Air. Like them, he has encountered moments of doubt and uncertainty, yet he persists and refuses to yield to adversity. His story resonates with the words of climber Beck Weathers, reminding us that "it is only through will and focus and drive that you continue to move. If you lose that focus, your body is a dead, worthless thing beneath you."

Cole is a true leader and someone you would want by your side as you strive to reach life’s summit. He leads by example, inspiring those around him to strive for greatness and to uphold values of honesty, diligence, and compassion. Cole defined leadership “as the ability to influence others in a positive manner. I want to emulate these qualities because it’s morally the right thing to do.”

Blazer Social Studies teacher, John Mulvaney, commented, “Leadership can be hard to define, but not to identify. From the moment you meet this young man, you immediately know people will follow him. Seconds after that, you’ll come to understand that he’ll also lead them in the right direction. He’s one the most honest, forthright, competitive and compassionate students I’ve ever been around. He’s gracious and patient with classmates, respectful and attentive with teachers, kind and generous with strangers.”

Cole is not only a strong leader but someone who will stand by you and be a true friend. He is a young man you want to emulate. Mulvaney shared, “I have a five year old son. The greatest testament I could give about Cole Christian is that if I could pick out any student in all of my time at Blazer for my son to grow up to be like - it would be Cole Christian.”

Tackett agreed, “Cole is a great young man with good morals and values. He does things the right way and is mature beyond his age. His greatest strength is his character. He’s a kid that you can trust that no matter the situation he’s going to show up, work hard, and give his best effort. There are no off days for him. He always shows up ready to work. It’s inspiring to see a young man his age have the character and work ethic that he does. It’s been an absolute joy for me to be part of this journey and high school career. I have no doubt he’s going to be very successful in life.”

Cole’s advice for life is simple, “I would tell others to try and get the most out of everyday. We can do a lot more than we think simply by pushing ourselves to be better and living with a positive attitude.”

As Cole embarks on the next chapter of his journey, attending the University of Louisville to pursue Chemical Engineering, he carries with him the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the dreams yet to be realized. His advice to others echoes the wisdom of "Simple Man" — to embrace each day with purpose, to pursue what brings joy and understanding, and to never waver in the face of challenges. As he walked the stage, adorned with the symbols of achievement, let us celebrate not just a graduate, but a simple kind of man who embodies the essence of perseverance, integrity, and the relentless pursuit of dreams. Congratulations, Cole, may your journey ahead be as remarkable as the path you've traveled thus far.



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