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Senior leads with calm & confidence

Comstock Park —Carefully analyze a situation before coming up with a solution. That’s part of being a leader for Keely Snider, a senior at Comstock Park High School.  His teammates and classmates benefit from this calm and patient leadership style.

During a soccer game in August, for example, one of his teammates was upset that an ejection of another player had left the team short-handed for the rest of the match.

Senior Keely Snider exudes confidence with a calm, patient leadership style

“Hearing this, I walked over and sat next to him and calmed him down,” Keely recalled. He told him, “It’s all right; we still have a whole game to play, and we’re a young team and still developing.”

“Yelling at the ref, getting red-carded, affects the whole team. Being able to calm that person down is better for the team,” said Keely, a midfielder. 

Besides playing soccer throughout high school, Keely is Student Council treasurer, historian for his school’s chapter of the National Honor Society, plays tenor saxophone in the jazz band, and holds down a part-time job. All while maintaining a 4.114 grade point average.

Contagious Attitude, Confidence

David Staublin, high school math and science teacher, said Keely is positive, enthusiastic and a self-starter who makes things happen.

“Other students are attracted to and follow Keely because his attitude and confidence are contagious,” Staublin said. 

Keely said early in his high school career a lot of his teachers saw him as a leader and encouraged him to join groups such as Student Council.

Keely Snider likes to unwind with one of his best friends, his dog Bill (courtesy)

As a leader, Keely said, he knows he has to be there for others, especially when fellow students are having a hard time. Keely said he tries to be as open as possible, and tries to not become a part of any one group exclusively. He said he knows most of his 120 fellow students personally. 

Being a student and a leader during the pandemic has been especially challenging with not being able to see everyone in class consistently. He recalled experiencing some burnout at the end of last year, yet knew he had to stay positive. 

Keely admits he wasn’t always so motivated in high school. In 10th grade, he recalled, he was all set to take some “easy” classes, but Staublin told him taking difficult classes would only make him smarter.

“I always had a lot of anxiety, which caused a lot of distress when it came to big classes,” Keely said. 

Staublin said he thinks Keely just lacked a bit in confidence and direction. “As he matured and took the risk of taking more difficult classes, he found he could succeed.”

Keely agreed that taking the more challenging classes is worth it, and recommends it to others. 

“It’s only going to widen the possibilities and chances for the future,” he said.

Keely Snider plans to study engineering in college (courtesy)

Keely said he has always had an interest in space, and is interested in a career in aerospace engineering, which gave him a reason to work hard and challenge himself with difficult classes. 

His fascination started with watching movies set in outer space as a kid such as “Star Wars.” He envisions himself working in Texas or Florida creating rockets or other space machines. He could see himself creating blueprints, but also working on some  hands-on, mechanical engineering projects.

He’s considering colleges with engineering programs, including Purdue University, University of Michigan and Michigan Technological University. 

Keely said he also looks up to his uncle, Sam Reenders, who is studying to be a doctor at Michigan State University. Keely said Reenders pushes him to do his work, and that Reenders’ faith in him has boosted his confidence. He also introduced his nephew to ultimate Frisbee.

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Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry covers Comstock Park. She is from Evansville, Indiana and St. Joseph, Mich. and a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School and Central Michigan University. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in the mid-1980s and has been a resident of Comstock Park since 2002. She understands the complexity, rewards and challenges of the teaching profession as she has five years of experience as a high school teacher at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Mich. and St. Stephen High School in Saginaw. As a reporter for the Advance Newspapers and Mlive she covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools. She is happy to be reunited with some of her journalism colleagues and writing about Comstock Park Public Schools for the School News Network. Read Karen's full bio

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