Thanks to good friends and VSAC, Tyler Eugair is college-bound

Written by
Dilys Pierson

Date
August 30, 2021

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Tyler Eugair

Too often, “peer pressure” plays a negative role in teenagers’ lives. But for Tyler Eugair, who graduated this spring from Proctor High School, knowing that his best friend would be going to Castleton was what led him to decide to go to college too.

“Did I always know I wanted to go to college? Not really. I wasn’t sure for a while,” says Tyler, who grew up in Proctor. “But I decided to apply to Castleton once I found out Robert was going. We’ve been friends since the first grade. I go to his house every day. I just show up at this point. I’m basically part of the family.”  Tyler’s mom, Amy Lear, agrees. “There’s like seven or eight of them that are close. If you know where one is, you know where they all are,” she laughs.

Not that Tyler’s parents have often needed to locate their older son. He’s most often found with a ball of some sort, either on a soccer pitch, a baseball field, or a basketball court. Tyler has played forward on Proctor High School’s varsity soccer team for four years, played outfield for the varsity baseball team for three years, and played basketball—his favorite sport—for all four years as well.

And when Tyler wasn’t playing sports, he was showing beginners how to play. He’s been a mentor to his younger brother Riley, who just turned 10 and plays all of the same sports that Tyler does. And each fall since his freshman year, Tyler has volunteered every Sunday for the local youth soccer program, helping the kindergarten through sixth grade teams with their drills. 

Tyler’s commitment to sports, friends, and community was something that impressed his VSAC counselor, Nathan Hickey. 

“Tyler always showed sportsmanship on the field or court,” Hickey says. “He’s a great teammate who shows respect, support, and encouragement for his teammates. He’ll help others when needed before he’ll do what he needs to do,” Hickey adds, mentioning that anytime Tyler saw his schoolmates walking to school in the wintertime, he would stop to give them a ride. 

Hickey has worked with Tyler through VSAC’s GEAR UP program for two and a half years. GEAR UP is a federally funded program that provides students with intensive mentoring, tutoring, career counseling, and financial literacy services, starting in middle and high school, to increase their chances of going to college and completing their degrees.

Tyler says his parents and grandparents all encouraged him to go to college. Lear, Tyler’s mom, says that it was important that Tyler do something after high school to further his future.

“He had to do something. Whether college or trade school. If it was taking a year off and working, we would have supported him, but yes, I wanted to see him go to college.”

Once Tyler made the decision to apply, the family found the process was more involved than any of them had expected.

“It’s harder than when I went to college,” says Tyler’s mom, who has her bachelor’s in psychology and currently works with young children. “I thought, ‘I’ve done this before, I can do it.’ But there are so many different pieces to it,” she says. “It was frustrating at times, but Nate was always there. He was a text away.”
 
When asked what kinds of things Nate helped him with, Tyler answers quickly: “Everything.”

“Nate helped me apply, because I wasn’t sure how to,” he says.

This summer, Tyler is working full time at Home Depot, and working with Castleton to sign up for classes and prepare for his first days on campus this fall. As for what he’s most looking forward to about college, Tyler mentions meeting new people, and the chance to study and specialize in something related to sports. He hopes to spread his wings outside Vermont once he gets his degree. 

Tyler gives lots of credit to his parents and to Nate for their ongoing support, keeping him on task, and helping him with his college applications. Tyler also makes special mention of his grandfather, ‘Papa,’ who unfortunately passed away last summer, and was a very close friend to him growing up. 

He says the secret to his success has been staying positive and working hard. And he advises incoming high school freshmen to “stay organized, be on time, and don’t give up. Reach for your dreams.”

Need help with pursuing your career goals and education needs? VSAC is here to help you. Serving our community is at the heart of all we do. During this ever-changing time, we remain available and committed to help you navigate all your career and education needs.

For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to www.vsac.org/FAFSAfirst and check out our online workshops and events. For an update of how we can help with the impact of COVID-19, click here. You can also give us a call at 800-642-3177, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday and online at info@vsac.org.