Wyoming high school grad known for humor, compassion, smarts
GILETTE, Wyo. (AP) — He once was known as Gillette’s presidential whiz kid.
At age 5, Ryley Constable knew everything there was to know about the presidents of the United States. It’s how he taught himself to read.
He even beat a local high school history teacher — one who later had Constable in his class at Campbell County High School — in a quiz on historical presidential facts.
Thirteen years later, Constable still loves the presidents and history. The 18-year-old also loves Yale University and will become among the first — if not the first — Campbell County High School graduate to attend the Ivy League school in the fall.
It all starts when Constable and the other 396 seniors in the Class of 2017 get off the stage at CCHS graduation ceremony.
This is the life of Ryley at CCHS, and it’s a year in which this senior stands out.
The state’s DECA president, Constable has many other talents he shares with students, said Suzan Newberry, the DECA coach at CCHS. That includes imitating well-known actors. He’s so good, Newberry leaves open the possibility that he may not end up as a business professional, but instead have a career as a comedian.
It’s Constable’s other talents that usually gain him attention, but a wry funny bone can’t hurt.
Constable had his college choices narrowed to Michigan State, Notre Dame, Princeton and Yale.
First Notre Dame accepted him.
In March, his dream came true. After visiting Yale over spring break, he was notified that he had been accepted.
He’s not shy about how that makes him feel.
“I’ve always kept colleges in the back of my mind,” he said. “Since I was little, I’ve dreamed of Yale. It had a special feeling. I felt it was like a really small family and there’s about 6,000 undergrads there,” Constable said.
“On a scale of one to 10, it’s about a 17½,” he said earlier. “I wake up and think, ‘Hey, I’m going to Yale,’ and just start smiling.”
Described as a fanatical learner by his mother Tracey Archer, Constable has been doing his own research. He knows that Mary Throne, a former Wyoming legislator, graduated from CCHS and went on to Princeton. He’s been unable to find any other CCHS grads who went to Yale.
A Casper graduate went to Yale five or 10 years ago, he said. Otherwise, Wyoming’s complement of Yale students usually come out of Jackson. It’s not definite, so his research continues.
While his smarts and determination may take him to Yale, it’s his humor that likely will pave the way for his future.
“She’s where I get my carefree attitude,” he said of his mom.
His father, Ronnie, fed Constable’s interest in history and sports. Constable recalls his dad quizzing him about history on family field trips. When his father learned Constable was accepted at Yale, he immediately did some research on Yale football teams and texted that information to Constable too.
Archer saw both sides of Constable when he played junior football in Gillette. She recalls him wearing his helmet as he sat on the grass reading a book between games.
Constable said there’s two things that were certainties in their Gillette household of two children as he grew up: Archer doesn’t put up with laziness and going to college was non-negotiable.
While he was never pushed to be a high achiever, Constable has always been one.
His only grade below an A-plus in high school came in PE his sophomore year. That was an A minus. That’s why he knew he’d never become a valedictorian at CCHS. But he was OK with that.
“Ryley didn’t need any pushing,” his mom said. “The kid is nonstop.”
She shares some of the same traits, they each say.
A lab manager for Energy Laboratories in Gillette, Archer “does everything to make life of those around her easier,” Constable said.
Constable, Archer said, does the same thing. He teaches students who are struggling in their business and math classes.
“He’s a really good leader, a strong leader. He takes care of the people around him,” she said. “He has a confidence about him. He’s not afraid to move forward. ... He’s got a lot of grit.”
“In my 37 years of teaching, I have not worked with a more honest or trustworthy student,” she said. “He is a special young man, full of promise and strength of character.
“Ryley is one of the most positive individuals that I have ever met. I do not remember a day that his young man has come to class without a huge smile and an eagerness to learn. Ryley approaches life with a positive attitude, huge smile and a wonderful sense of humor. Based on Ryley’s determination, abilities, caring attitude and academic performance, I know he will make a difference in this world,” Newberry said.
DOING THE MATH
It’s not just business that Constable excels in.
He thrives on challenge.
During the general election campaign, Constable joined two other students as they questioned school board candidates during a public event at CCHS. He hadn’t reached voting age, but that didn’t mean he isn’t interested in the community’s future. This past year, he took three accelerated classes at CCHS, two college classes and an advanced business management course.
He competed in the statewide math contest, placing third in the northeast Wyoming District in the A Division.
“For some reason, I like math. It’s like science and art at the same time,” he said.
He scored a 34 of a possible 36 on the ACT because of his determination and preparation, Newberry said.
“His work ethic definitely is one of the best I have seen in my career,” he said. “He puts his smile and soul into everything he does.”
His math ability comes in handy, too. Constable’s figured out his scholarships will pay for about two-thirds of the cost of attending Yale. He’ll be left with $4,000 to $5,000 to pay a year.
He hopes to go on and earn a bachelor’s degree in economics and management. He wouldn’t mind becoming a management or entrepreneurship consultant or even perhaps a lawyer, he said.
“He’s like a walking encyclopedia,” his mom said. But she’ll miss much more than that about him. “I’ll miss our conversations. We’ve become more (than) friends. He’s very much into politics and I’ll miss his perspective on things.”
Ah, it’s the life of Ryley.
Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record, http://www.gillettenewsrecord.com