Six years out, lessons from Carson High still linger | NevadaAppeal.com

Six years out, lessons from Carson High still linger

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Spec. Rick Cooley, a 2001 Carson High graduate, stands at attention during the national anthem at a Carson High basketball game on Feb. 6. Cooley is in the midst of a one-year deployment in Iraq, and said he still uses lessons he learned at Carson High.
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When he graduated from Carson High in 2001, Rick Cooley Jr., thought he was ready for the world. He believed that high school had prepared him for life after education.

For the most part, he still finds that to be true, but wishes he would have done some things differently.

“Looking back on high school now, there’s a lot of things I would have done. I didn’t go to any basketball games or dances, and now I wish I would have,” Cooley said.

Having spent the last six months stationed in Iraq, Spec. Cooley said getting to go to a CHS basketball game is something he wishes he could do now.

Cooley is halfway through a one-year deployment overseas, after which he will return stateside, where he is based in Hawaii. He came back to Carson City this month to see friends and family.

While he was home, Cooley took in a CHS basketball game.

“I just wanted to do anything that allows me to be around my friends and family. Really, that’s all I want to do while I’m here,” Cooley said.

Cooley said he decided to join the military for a combination of reasons, including a family connection and feeling an obligation to serve.

“My father was special forces in Vietnam, and it really became clear to me after Sept. 11, I wanted to serve my country,” he said.

Even though he has been away from the halls of Carson High for six years, Cooley said he still uses the knowledge that was given to him there.

“I had several teachers that kept telling me not to give up, don’t quit if it’s something you believe in. I still follow that,” Cooley said.

While he didn’t take part in the JROTC program, he encourages others to be involved and consider serving their country.

“Just go for it. There are a lot of good things about the Army. It’s a good experience, and it helps you figure out who you are.”

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.