Dante Tyler is taking a his ability to multitask with him when he graduates from Richland High School on June 5.
As a proud Bomber, he’s juggled football, basketball, track, served as Associated Student Body president and completed school work without any major fumbles.
Dante, 18, says people tried to tell him this was impossible to do. But he didn’t let that stop him.
“I’ve done a lot of things that haven’t been done before,” he said.
Dante’s diverse accomplishments aren’t seen often in the same person, says Jim Qualheim, Dante’s track coach and student government adviser. He’s a three-sport athlete, a student leader and an academically gifted student.
While Dante has missed classes for sports or ASB activities, he said his education is still what he puts first. He works hard and boasts a 3.52 grade-point average.
“School is what gets you places in life, and my end goal is to have a really good career,” he said.
When Dante heads off to Eastern Washington University this fall, he’ll become one of the first in his family to go to college. His mom, Shyla Thomas, and his stepfather, Zachary Thomas, couldn’t be more proud.
“He is really good at taking the steps now to make sure that his future is right,” Dante’s stepdad said. “He also wants everybody else to do well.”
Dante plans to pursue a business-related degree at EWU. He had plans to go elsewhere, but changed his mind after being contacted by the college’s track coach. Now, he’s headed there to be on the track team for discus and shot put.
Dante had the chance to play football in college, but “I just don’t have the passion for it as I do for track,” he said.
It’s a little ironic since he didn’t originally plan to join the track team. He was looking for a sport to do during the off season to stay in shape for basketball and football. He was considering tennis or soccer.
But Qualheim convinced Dante to give track a try. When he started throwing the discus, he got hooked. This year he added shot put because the team needed the points it would bring.
Dante said he likes the camaraderie of the track team because there is a desire to see one other succeed.
And it feels amazing to set a new personal record, Dante said.
“I’m shocked every single time I do it,” he said.
During his sophomore year, Dante struggled a bit with track. But Qualheim said he put in the time to improve his throws and has gone to state competition the past two years. That’s a significant achievement because competition to get to state is tough.
Off the field, he persevered when it came to student leadership. He had his sights set on being ASB president since fourth grade.
But his first attempts at getting his classmates to elect him were unsuccessful. He tried to get elected to student offices in seventh and eighth grade and lost. He tried for treasurer his sophomore year, and also lost. But then he succeeded at being elected the as ASB president for his final year of high school.
It wasn’t easy. Qualheim said it was a hard-fought election with excellent candidates.
But Dante has become a student everyone at school knows, Qualheim said. He’s nice to everyone, he said.
Through student leadership, Dante has helped raise money for various causes. He’s also donated
his own blood and convinced 60 others to open up a vein in a school blood drive.
He’s done a lot of community outreach as well, and will be speaking at Carmichael Middle School during an honors breakfast.
He plans to talk about persevering. When he went to Carmichael, Dante said he was bullied and had to learn how to deal with it.
He said people told him to fight back. But he said he realized that it was better to try to convince the bullies what they were doing was wrong.
“Some people are just trying to find themselves,” he said.
The approach seemed to have worked, he said.
“I think everybody can make a difference in their school and in the world,” Dante said.
His goal is to start his own business and become CEO. He also is considering eventually going into politics, and perhaps trying to become a U.S. president.