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Leading from the back
by Garrett Valenzuela
May 20, 2013 | 1393 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School junior Max Poore
Tribune photo by Garrett Valenzuela -- Reed High School junior Max Poore
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SPARKS — Reed High School junior Max Poore was drawn to a quote by ancient philosopher Lao Tzu, who said, “To lead people, walk behind them.” Poore said the line befuddled him initially but soon he found it relatable to his work in school. More importantly, he was able to see a transformation in himself.

“At first, I didn’t get it, but I think it is about directing people on the right course and don’t be so demanding,” Poore said. “I really noticed that in my first two years I was really hands-on and approached things with a ‘what do you need done, I will do it’ attitude.That is what I really got out of the (Leadership) class. To be a great leader you don’t need to be controlling.

“You just need to put in your opinion every now and then and guide the group in the right way.

At first, I was just the worker bee and doing whatever I could, but this was my first year with underclassmen in there and so I have noticed a different way to lead.”

Poore, 16, keeps busy at Reed High with a full load of Advanced Placement classes, Leadership and peer tutoring. He will tack on Student Body Treasurer to his schedule next year, as well as the We the People government class, which he said he was feeling “trepidatious” about joining.

Poore is also a member of the tennis team and he said he gets to the courts at least twice per week in the offseason. He said teachers in middle school warned him to “find an outlet” when he entered high school, and Poore said it has been helpful in keeping his cool under pressure.

“I was told you need to find an outlet in high school,” Poore said. “At first, it didn’t make sense, but now if I am ever busy or swamped or just tired and done with school, I play tennis and it calms me down. If I am ever stressed, I can just go to the court and forget about everything for a little while. It is a great outlet to have.”

Poore is not ashamed to call himself a “nerd” when he speaks about his love for science and his goal to become a particle physicist in the future. He said Mendive Middle School was where he first fell in love with science and his love for it continues to grow while researching his favorite scientists and ideas.

“I was a real nerd — well I still am — but when I was 13 or 14 I started watching the Universe documentary on the History Channel,” Poore said. “I love that and I always watch when there are specials on string theory or absolute zero.”

Poore plans to follow his dreams of becoming a physicist to California for college. He said he is keeping an “open mind” about which California school he will attend, but he said California Institute of Technology, Stanford and University of California San Diego are on his list for high quality technology schools.

His annual visit to Australia to visit his father nears and that has Poore excited for summer. He said traveling around the country and playing Australian football are among the highlights of his trip each year.

“I see friends there. The ocean and the rivers there are always great,” he said. “We also usually go down south on a mini-trip. We go to see the bush and the country. It’s great. I love it.”

When he returns stateside for school in August, Poore will be consumed by his schedule because of his tenure in the Leadership class. Planning and organizing events for the class will ask for a major commitment, but Poore said despite the stress, the class has paid dividends.

“It has basically been my high school since I started,” Poore said of Leadership. “I first learned about it in seventh grade and it has just been a big part of my life since then. It has taught a lot of real-life lessons that you don’t get from other classes.

“In Leadership, you get public speaking, organizing events —half of the people in that class could organize a huge event in a week if they needed to. The advisors are probably my favorite teachers and they have made a huge impression on me."
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