Ian proudly poses with his guitar (above).
Photo taken by Olivia Jones
By Julia Gydus
Every morning one walks through the doors of the Media Center, still half asleep, dreading the day ahead, one can count on seeing Ian Miller. Ian, or as most people know him, the guitar playing prodigy, is a 16-year-old sophomore with the incredible gift of optimism.
For many, being happy all the time seems nearly impossible, even pretending to be happy is a difficult task. For Ian, being happy is a way of life, and he hopes to spread this message to the rest of the AHS community.
Ian plays guitar in the morning, because “it seemed like something that would be good for the AHS community. People look so down and out when they come in in the mornings so I try to cheer them up”.
Ian’s warm welcomes have become a routine in the mornings and his smile can change the outlook on the day ahead. Seeing Ian can immediately change the mood of a bad day.
He says the key is to “stay positive, think of positive things and find solutions rather than more problems”. He says, “I didn’t get my dream summer job working at a camp, I decided to volunteer instead because if I couldn’t get the paid position I would still be able to have the experience. I just pretended money wasn’t a factor, so I could still make the most out of it.”
It can be difficult to find solutions to problems when it seems nothing is going the right way, but Ian is a prime example of how each is all in control of his/her own happiness, and the way one looks at situations determines emotions.
Ian hopes to impact the AHS community by teaching them that by “having a positive impact on the community around you, the good vibes will eventually come back to you. What goes around comes around”.
Junior, Olivia Jones says, “He can really brighten my day. It’s so nice to know that there is at least on genuinely nice person in this school. He adds such a great element of happiness to the environment.”
Ms. Slade also appreciates Ian’s presence saying “He’s awesome. I love to have him here in the mornings. Also, he’s always on time, so it motivates me to get here on time too so I can open up.”
His life hasn’t always been so positive as some would imagine. Difficult things have happened in the past that have helped shape him, and he uses the bad memories as motivation to not repeat the past and move forward to make the most out of life.
“The key to life is to have a positive outlook,” he says. “You learn and you move on.” Ian, like 70% of other adolescents, has struggled with depression in the past and it is something he still struggles with today. Along with depression, he also struggles with ADHD, OCD, and Aspergers, all of which make everyday life more complicated, socially and academically. He uses the extra energy from his ADHD and Aspergers to “run, work twice as hard, and kick butt to prove to the world I can do just as much or more with my conditions”.
Ian’s struggles have helped him learn “to appreciate the people in my life, because I didn’t always have them. I love school, because I see people smile and wave and I look forward to that and being able to spread kindness. Life is all about making connections with people and the world around you and acting on these connections”.
“I have a lot stacked up against me that I struggled with and still struggle with today, but I try not to let it slow me down. He says he looks up to Bruce Springsteen because he can relate to his past. “He beat a lot of odds to get to where he is and he did it cleanly without abusing drugs or alcohol like most rock stars; he works hard,” Ian shares.
He hopes to attend college for outdoor leadership and education, because he loves spending time outside and working with kids.
Currently, Ian is training for his second marathon, an accomplishment most people will never achieve let alone at the age of 16. As a short term goal, he hopes to get an A in honors biology this year.
Ian is an imperative asset to the student body of AHS. He is a daily reminder to everyone here that no matter how bad things may seem, there is always hope. Ian’s optimism is honorable in many ways, especially considering his past. Ian says, “Most of us are more lucky than we think to have been gifted with the lives we have. We should take advantage of every day to remind ourselves and the people around us that positivity and kindness are such easy things to accomplish, yet they can greatly improve our lives and the lives of everyone around us.” Ian also play guitar and frisbee and likes to read and hike.