Growing up in the small town of Deary is something Jalen Kirk is proud of. "I just love the town of Deary," he says. "You know everyone here. There are 70 kids in the whole high school and I know every single one of them." While other teens may find fault with small-town life, Jalen has embraced it and is an active, serving member of the community. He knows this close-knit community has helped shape him into the successful young man he is today.
A senior at Deary High School, Jalen is a three sport athlete, competing in football, basketball, and track. "There's no real break between seasons," he says. "I usually have two days, maybe a weekend, between one sport ending and the next one beginning." Deary is a 1A-D2 school, putting it in the smallest classification in the state. This creates some unique challenges that athletes in larger schools never experience. For example, Jalen plays running back on offense and linebacker on defense for the 8-man football team. "I'm pretty much playing the whole game," he says. He switches between playing point guard and shooting guard on the basketball team, and is a track stand out, bringing home the state championship in the 300 meter hurdles. Jalen has been successful in all three sports, returning to the state playoffs in football, going to the state tournament for the first time in 17 years in basketball, and winning a state title in track.
Jalen Kirk is grateful for all he’s learned through sports. “Football has taught me some great life lessons,” he explains. “You need to buckle down and work as team and learn how to take a loss and not be defined by it.” He also learned a lot about perseverance last season in track. “All that work might not be fun, but winning the state medal made it all worth it.”
“You need to buckle down and work as team and learn how to take a loss and not be defined by it.” -Jalen
While the athletics scene is a big part of Jalen’s life, it's certainly not the only part. "I was always taught that school comes before sports," he says. This attitude is evident in his 3.6 GPA as well as his involvement in Idaho Drug Free Youth. "It's fun to be able to spend time with younger kids and mentor them through IDFY," he says. Along with other Deary students, Jalen can sometimes be found serving the local senior citizens at a weekly meal in town. He even spent his summer working for the city of Deary’s landscaping crew where he did a lot of digging, painting, and repair work.♦