Senior celebrates making it to the finish line

Geoff Crimmins/Daily NewsTroy High School senior David Phillis plans to attend Lewis-Clark State College where he will study graphic communications and run on the track and cross country teams.

A Troy student compared his four years of high school to running a mile.

David Phillis, 18, said each lap around the track has its difficult moments, sure, but it ends with a rewarding feeling of accomplishment. Much like high school.

“You realize, wow, even though there are parts where I’m not really the most proud of or where it was hard to get through, look at what I did and look at what I can tell a story about,” he said.

The Troy High School senior, as well as seniors across the country, certainly can tell a story about this spring.

The cancellation of in-person classes because of COVID-19 has been one of the more difficult laps around the track for Phillis and his peers.

For Phillis, it was hard at first to find motivation to complete his senior year on a high note. Being stuck at home, adjusting to online classes and seeing his final season on the track team canceled dampered his spirits.

“I kind of had a few weeks where it was pretty hard to keep going,” he said.

But when he began focusing on his future, which includes starting school at Lewis-Clark State College to study graphic design and run track, he found that motivation again. Phillis said talking to people at the college encouraged him to work at adjusting to the new normal.

It is easy to see why being stuck at home was initially difficult for Phillis. Since starting at Troy High School four years ago, he became involved in many extracurricular activities the school had to offer.

In addition to running cross country and the 800 meter and 1600 meter events on the track team, he sang in the choir program, joined Business Professionals of America and participated in Knowledge Bowl.

He credited Troy High School teacher and cross country coach Tera Stoner for encouraging him to run cross country as a freshman when his athletic resume only consisted of youth soccer. Phillis said “every single moment there on with cross country and my coach Tera Stoner was amazing.”

Stoner is also the music teacher and urged him to sing choir.

Phillis is quick to point out that his willingness to be involved in multiple school programs is not unique at Troy.

Troy High School students in general participate in these activities to ensure that programs do not suffer from lack of support.

“I feel like there’s this really cool sense of everyone wanting to pitch in and help in different things at the high school,” he said. “So there’s not really a program that gets left behind.”

As he reflects back on his four years at Troy, Phillis said one of the most positive memories is his interactions with the teachers.

“The teachers there are excellent,” he said. “The kids at Troy are really lucky to have so many really supportive and amazing teachers that really do care.”

His principal, Brad Malm, returned the high praise.

“David’s a really charismatic and very talented young man,” Malm said, adding that Phillis comes from a good family.

He said Phillis is conscientious and very creative, especially when it comes to graphic design. Malm said Phillis did a lot of work creating graphics for posters for school celebrations.

Malm agreed with Phillis about THS students being actively involved with many school activities. Malm said that support “comes with the territory” at a small school district.

However, he said Phillis is unique.

“What separates David from the rest is he excels at all those programs,” Malm said,

Troy High School will be celebrating its graduation 7 p.m. Friday at the University of Idaho Kibbie Dome parking lot.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at

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