Based on the activities he’s pursued and the choices he’s made so far, Central Hardin senior Ryan Getler isn’t one to take the path of least resistance.
Getler said he enjoys pushing himself, and this may be why he hopes to either join the U.S. Naval Academy or the U.S. Marine Corps’ ROTC program after high school.
Getler has been accepted into Purdue University and has applied for the U.S. Naval Academy. He is on the academy’s waiting list.
Joining the military always has been a major goal for Getler. But his school activities and interests have varied over the years, putting his best foot forward in all of them.
One thing that consistently keeps Getler busy at Central is his involvement in the school’s tutoring club, where he serves as president. Through the club, Getler volunteers each week to be a peer mentor for a freshmen math class. He said he initially struggled with math when entering high school and hoped to help students with this same problem through the club.
“I’m just being that mentor I wish I had,” he said. “I just genuinely want to help these kids out.”
Getler eventually overcame his struggles with arithmetic in order to secure a better chance of joining the U.S. Naval Academy. In fact, he managed to skip Algebra II and went straight into Pre-Calculus during his junior year. He earned an A in the class and went on to take AP Calculus as a senior.
Central Hardin calculus teacher Vera Priddy said she never has met a student with the courage and determination to pursue Pre-Calculus without a background of Algebra II.
“I was skeptical at first to even consider allowing him to skip. I have taught Pre-Calculus for over a decade, and I have never had a student with even the courage to skip past Algebra II and take on Pre-Calculus,” she said. “Looking back in time, I shudder at the thought of not allowing Ryan to go through the grueling challenge of skipping to Pre-Calculus, for he proved me wrong in every department.”
Aside from the tutoring club, Getler’s other academic clubs include Central Hardin’s Beta Club and Tech Student Association. He serves as treasurer for both clubs.
Getler said though Beta Club has given him several volunteer opportunities, his experience with community service truly started through Boys Scouts of America. Involved with Boy Scouts since he was 5, Getler now serves as an Eagle Scout. He said his Eagle project was a drive to send used shoes to impoverished areas of Africa, donating more than 450 pairs.
“It taught me to be a good leader,” he said of his involvement in the organization.
Getler also is the captain of Central Hardin’s cross country team. He said that position drove him to set a good example for his teammates and continue his penchant for leadership.
“I realized ‘hey, I’m the leader here, I need to lead by example,’” he said.
On top of his experience in cross country, Getler also holds a red belt in Taekwondo.
Though Getler is involved with several activities at Central Hardin. He said some of his most rewarding experiences happened during summer break. For example, he took part in the Governor’s Scholar Program last summer, studying business at Northern Kentucky University.
Though it was only a five-week program, Getler said he maintained strong relationships with his classmates and keeps in touch with many of them today.
“No matter what field of study you had, it was about learning how to form a community,” he said. “It was probably the most diverse group of kids I’ve ever had the honor to learn with.”
Getler also took part in the American Legion Kentucky Boys State program last summer. The program is comprised of high school juniors from around the state who form a model government entity and learn about state government, history, communications and more.
Last year while serving as an intern for the organization, Getler worked with fellow Boys State intern Carl Loohuis of Bardstown to introduce a veteran tax reform bill to the Kentucky General Assembly. Getler and Loohuis worked with Rep. Tim Moore of Elizabethtown, co-chairman of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs, to give the presentation.
The proposed legislation called for tax breaks for veterans and veteran service organizations. Though the legislation did not pass, Getler said he hoped it raised awareness of veterans’ issues in the state.
“We tried to make a difference in the state,” he said. “That’s exactly what they want in Boys State.”
Getler now serves as a staff member for Kentucky Boys State. Continuing on with some of the skills learned there, he recently served as a legislative intern for Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, working from January to April.
During his internship, Getler assisted with election management, business filing and legislation. He said the experience opened his eyes to the complexity and intricacies of the legislative process.
“I’m not going to study political science but it gave me a lot of good perspectives on life,” he said.
Getler said if the U.S. Naval Academy does not work out, he plans to study cyber security at Purdue University while taking part in the U.S. Marine Corps’ ROTC program.
“I feel like it’s kind of my generation’s new frontier as it were,” he said of cyber security. “I want to be a part of that.”
Whatever he takes on, Getler said he’ll give his all while doing it.
“If I want to succeed, I’m just going to have to step up my game and work harder than everyone else,” he said.