Top WHS grads Langston, Gaither ready for new challenges

Liz Pyles
David Langston is Weed High School's valedictorian for the Class of 2012; Bryndan Gaither is salutatorian.

Weed High School’s Class of 2012 valedictorian David Langston and salutatorian Bryndan Gaither are both preparing to make big moves after receiving their diplomas next Tuesday, June 5.

David has been accepted to the University of South Carolina-Columbia. He is interested in their international business program.

Bryndan is headed for CSU Northridge in the Los Angeles area to pursue his interest in video and film production.

David Langston, valedictorian

David came to WHS as a junior because he wanted to participate in sports. Previously, he played basketball and ran cross-country for Dunsmuir Elementary and did summer basketball with Sisson Elementary.

From fourth grade to eighth, David attended Siskiyou Christian School, then was home-schooled through Lighthouse Christian Academy his freshman and sophomore years.

He said he missed sports and chose WHS because he knew kids there. “It was my best high school experience and school experience overall,” he said. “I felt accepted here.”

David played soccer, basketball and ran cross country and track as a Cougar. He finished his high school sports career competing at the NSCIF Section Finals in the 400m last Friday. “I’m a competitive person,” said David.  “I like a challenge.”  

One of David’s favorite teachers, Mr. Neel, got him to work out during PE. “I didn’t enjoy it much before going to this school,” David said.  Now working out at the gym is one of his passions.  

Another favorite teacher, Mr. DeRoss, inspired him in English. Before taking DeRoss’s class, David said English was his worst subject, and he didn’t like it.  “This year, after being in his AP (advanced placement) class, it’s one of my best subjects. I really like it. It’s one of my favorites besides PE.”

He said he enjoyed learning rhetoric and different styles of writing, which will be useful in college and future plans.

“I was always interested in business and economics, which is why I want to go to South Carolina,” he said.  

He is also waiting to hear from the Naval Academy Preparatory School. If accepted, he plans to “transfer to the Navel Academy as a freshman grad commissioned as an officer and then apply to law school.” Ultimately he wants to be judge advocate.  

Whether to attend college or not was never a confusing issue for David. “My family told me I was going to college from day one,”?he said. “They helped me decide what would probably be best. They are very supportive.”

David’s parents are Chris and Donna Langston of Dunsmuir.

David said he’s ready to leave WHS and move on, but at the same time he doesn’t want to. Although he’s excited and motivated by new challenges and having new obstacles to overcome, he will miss not having his family close by. He said it will also be “tough to leave friends, but I’m good at making new ones.”  

Bryndan Gaither, salutatorian

Bryndan Gaither said he doesn’t really worry about his grade point average; he just tries to get A’s.

His good grades and high GPA have earned him salutatorian of this year’s graduating class.

Counselor Kristin Carter said, “Bryndan has always done such high quality work.  It’s been really impressive.  He’s always a good citizen here at school and his work is exemplary.”

Bryndan commented that he had never been in the principal’s office before the interview for this article.

He said his motivation comes from his friends and family and his own personal drive. “Growing up with a single mom, you see how hard it can be. That makes me want to give back.”

Bryndan has attended WHS all four years, playing baseball for three years and basketball in his junior year.  He said he is competitive, but most of all likes to have fun. Along with baseball, Bryndan’s interests include video games, video production, and hanging out with friends and family.  

About his decision to attend CSU Northridge in the fall, Bryndan said, “I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to look back with any regrets.”

After receiving an initial rejection letter from the Ford Foundation, Bryndan said he later received an unexpected call from them telling him they decided to award him the scholarship after all.  

Bryndan said he’s nervous about going to college, but excited. “Especially when I found out I got the Ford,” he said. “That stuff just doesn’t happen!”

He also received Pell and CAL grants to help with college expenses. He said Northridge has a great program and he’ll be able to network and make connections within the industry. “That, to me, is exciting.”

The LA area is a big change from Weed.  Bryndan said he’ll miss the small town atmosphere and knowing everyone, but he plans to visit as often as he can. He moved from Oklahoma when he was four, attended Weed Elementary School through fourth grade and then Butteville until eighth.  His parents are Janie Brown of Weed and Tom Gaither of Lake Shastina.

Mrs. Coffman is his favorite teacher at WHS.  “She’s the best. She’s the coolest teacher,” he said.  “She’s fun to be around, and she understands kids.”  Bryndan was in Coffman’s Government, World History and senior project classes.   

He said it will be hard leaving his family and he’ll miss them. “The idea of it is more scary, being that far away from my family.” He doesn’t think he’ll be too picky about where he lives at college; for him, it’s about the education.