Graduation today, goodwill mission tomorrow
Today Kyle Logan earns his diploma from Basalt High School. Tomorrow he hops on an airplane for Nepal.While many of his peers in Basalt and elsewhere plot a summer of fun in the sun, Logan is preparing to spend two months teaching English in a small village’s school halfway around the world.Logan signed on with an organization called Global Volunteer Network to help kids in Nepal this summer even though he must be ready in August to enter the University of Utah. He plans to pursue degrees in biology and Chinese.In a nutshell, the 18-year-old couldn’t wait until his studies were over to try to make a difference in the world.”This is just so much Kyle,” said his mom, Mari Logan. “This is what he’s going to be doing the rest of his life.”She said he’s always been interested in helping other people. It came naturally, with no particular nurturing. “We often wonder where did all this come from,” Mari said.
She said she was a little nervous when she first heard his plan since Nepal is a Third World country. But she soon got behind it. Besides, she said, you can’t say no when someone is so enthused to help others.Kyle’s a tall, skinny guy who stands over 6 feet tall. He’s got an aura of calm and confidence. He converses easily about his plan for Nepal and none of it sounds rehearsed.He’s also humble. He doesn’t make a big deal out of his ambition to help out Nepalese kids and shrugs off his willingness to surrender a summer that he could justifiably spend messing around.”I figure I’ve never really been a teenager all my teenage life,” he said. “I’ll just jump right in there.”He never got into the party scene, he said. Instead he hit the books and hit the slopes on his snowboard, a lot. For the last few summers he volunteered to perform manual labor at a snowboard camp at Mt. Hood, Ore., so he could attend. He acknowledged he would probably do that again this year if the snow was good.Drought wiped out hopes for a return to snowboard camp, so he worked on plan B and decided on applying to teach in Nepal. He was interested in Nepal because the country’s language is one of several he studies.”I took French in high school just to get it over with,” he said. “Then something just hit me.”
He studied Chinese through a college class offered by Brigham Young University. He’s also studied Latin and a little Portuguese as well as Nepalese.Chinese is, by far, the hardest, he said. “Once you’ve got Chinese, everything else you can pick up.”His decision about this summer doesn’t surprise Basalt High Principal Jim Waddick. Kyle is one of those students who demonstrates his character through actions, and he doesn’t make a big deal out of it, Waddick said. “It’s all about how you live your life,” he said.Kyle’s got a curiosity and drive that are advanced for his age, the principal observed. “He’s just an incredible young man,” Waddick said.When Logan collects his diploma today he will graduate with a 3.98 grade point average. Other kids in his graduating class of 88 earned 4.0 GPAs. “The computer class got me in ninth grade,” he explained with a smile.He credited the teachers at Basalt High School for motivating him and spending extra time with him. But education is mostly a product of what you put into it, he noted. “If you want it, they’ll help you,” Logan said.He flies into Katmandu for training starting next week. After a couple of weeks he will be assigned to a village where he will live with a family and either teach kids himself or assist another teacher.
The plan came about so quickly that Kyle wasn’t able to mount much of a fund-raising effort. The airplane tickets, fee to take part in the program, living expenses and immunizations come to around $4,000.”We did the thing that every American family does and put it on the credit card,” he said. “We” in this case meant his mom.Anyone who wants to make a tax-deductible donation to the cause can send a check to Mari Logan, P.O. Box 1594, Basalt, CO 81621, or call Mari at 927-8465. Kyle stressed that if any funds remain after his expenses are covered he will contribute them to charitable causes in Nepal.He said he will show a movie or slide show about his trip when he returns in August.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org