Thunder Mountain High School sophomore Tyler Meyer volunteers before school, during school and after school. He helps the nurse, he takes out the trash for the custodians and he wipes down tables during lunch. When school officials offered to pay him, he turned them down. In addition, he's "a model student" who "always has a smile on his face and presents a helpful attitude."
So when 101-year-old Tlingit elder and minister Walter Soboleff was looking for a deserving student to honor, Meyer was a natural fit.
"We have a lot of deserving students, but his name floated to the top," said TMHS Assistant Principal Kathryn Milliron.
At a school assembly on Thursday, Soboleff presented Meyer with a $250 gift certificate to Fred Meyer. Of that, $101 is from Soboleff - $1 for every year of his life. Another $101 was matched by the Juneau School District's coordinator for Native student success, Barbara Cadiente-Nelson. And the Juneau Lions Club, where Soboleff first broached the idea, contributed $48 to round it out, said Ted Burke, Soboleff's son-in-law.
"The Lions Club likes to help in worthy causes. We felt he was a deserving student," Soboleff said. "He's an outstanding student, and he deserves to be honored."
"I was speechless," said Meyer, who didn't know about the honor beforehand.
Meyer said the gift will be especially handy since he's turning 16 on Dec. 28. "My plan is to save money and get a vehicle," he said.
Whatever he ends up using the money for, Milliron said she's sure he won't use it selfishly.
"He volunteers, gives back and is always looking for new ways to contribute. He tends to business and then some," she said. "He is a model citizen who always thinks of others, including his mother and siblings. Dr. Soboleff is giving to a giver."