Washougal High Valedictorian Ryan Davy

Student-athlete credits family’s support, encouragement for accomplishments

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Ryan Davy, one of four Washougal High School valedictorians for the class of 2019, will attend Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., in the fall. (Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

When Ryan Davy sets a goal for himself, he usually accomplishes it.

The Washougal High School senior hoped to excel academically and athletically during his high school years. He succeeded in both endeavors.

In May, Davy was named as one of Washougal High’s four valedictorians for the class of 2019. Days later, he won the 2A state track and field championship as a member of the Panthers’ 4×100 relay team.

“If there’s something I really want to do and I set my mind to it, I don’t let a lot of things get in my way of it,” Davy said.

Davy’s motivation stems from the support he’s received from his parents, Mike and Kirsten Davy.

“They have high expectations for me, so I try to meet those expectations,” he said. “I’m trying to get an ‘A’ on everything because that’s what my parents want for me. They know I can do really well, so they push me a lot.”

For the past two years, Davy has been taking the majority of his classes at Clark College in Vancouver as part of Washougal High’s Running Start program. When he graduates this month, he will have already earned his associate degree.

“It’s definitely more challenging than regular high school work,” Davy said of the Running Start program, which allows high school students to take college-level courses. “It comes at you a lot faster. They cram a lot more stuff into about 10 weeks, whereas in high school it might take a whole semester or a whole year to go over the same stuff.”

Davy still spent time at Washougal High during his senior year, taking one class a day at the high school and spending time practicing and performing as a fourth-year trumpet player in the Washougal High concert band.

Davy said he was introduced to the trumpet mostly by chance.

“My mom wanted me to play an instrument in the fifth grade, and the only one I could actually play was the trumpet, so I decided to go with that,” Davy said. “(I like it because) I have a few friends that I’m in that class with, and it’s a good experience to go in and play with them. I’ve enjoyed (playing) at football games and basketball games.”

Davy gave credit to Washougal High band teacher Kelly Ritter for motivating him to continue playing.

“She’s been a big influence on me,” he said. “She’s made band really fun. There were a lot of times when I thought about quitting, especially coming out of eighth grade. She’s made it to where I don’t want to quit. She (provides) a good environment, she’s a good teacher and she tries to help everybody.”

Returning to his high school for band class each day allowed Davy to improve as a musician and maintain relationships with some of his closest friends.

“He’s a great kid,” Ritter said. “He’s pleasant and always positive. He’s fairly quiet, but he’s always been a leader in that section. I’m very thankful he’s been able to (participate in band) for four years. He’s had to drive all the way to Clark College, then come back for band class. That’s a big commitment. I’ve lost some students for that reason, and I don’t blame them. But he made the commitment, and he’s been here religiously every day, always prepared.”

During his time at Washougal High and Clark College, Davy has enjoyed his science classes.

“Science makes sense to me, and it’s interesting,” he said. “(I like it because) there’s one right answer, and you go and find the answer that you need, and you don’t have to spend time figuring out your own conclusion or anything like that.”

Davy will attend Washington State University in the fall. He plans to study exercise science with a goal of eventually enrolling in graduate school for physical therapy. He said he also hopes to join the the Cougars’ track and field team.

He was inspired to pursue physical therapy as a career last spring after spending time at Washougal Sport and Spine with Dr. Erik Leif, who helped Davy recover from a hamstring injury.

Ritter said Davy possesses the abilities to be successful no matter which career path he chooses.

“He doesn’t shirk his duties if he commits to something,” Ritter said of Davy. “There won’t be a lack of effort on his part. He’s soft spoken, so he rarely professes his love for anything, but it shows through his actions.”