HARROD — For high school junior Alex Larese, life has been a series of transitions, some more difficult than others.
The first and possibly most difficult came when he was only 6 months old.
“The most difficult situation I have been in without a doubt is growing up without a father,” he said. “He died when I was 6 months old.”
Since then, his upbringing has been left to his mother, Margaret. While Alex is grateful for all of her efforts, he knows that she is still limited in what she can offer him by herself.
“There is no doubt in my mind that my mother has done a fantastic job of raising me, but there are still things that she cannot teach me,” Alex said. “By God’s good grace, he has blessed me with countless adoptive dads through my family, my church and many of my friends. In times where I couldn’t teach myself something, I would reach out to one of my many dads and they would always be ready with an answer.”
Alex started his education at St. Gerard Catholic School, where his mother is a secretary. They are both members of St. Gerard Catholic Church, as well. From there, Alex could have gone on with some of his classmates to Lima Central Catholic High School, but he experienced another transition when he instead enrolled at Allen East High School as a freshman.
“I live about a half-mile down state Route 309,” he said. “So distance was a big problem with going to LCC. Plus it’s really expensive. You’re paying in-state college tuition for a year of school.”
Going from a parochial school experience to a public school can come with its own set of challenges, but Alex was quickly able to acclimate by getting involved.
“It was a little bit of an adjustment,” he said. “But I got into football in my sophomore year and started lifting the middle of my freshman year. That helped me make some friends and made the transition a little easier.”
Alex, who plays both offensive and defensive tackle for the junior varsity team, enjoys being involved in athletics.
“It really keeps me busy and makes me challenge myself,” he said. “It also teaches me time management. During football season, I’m practicicng until 6 and then after getting home, eating and showering, I have about three hours to get done with homework. That really teaches you time management.”
Alex also makes time to help at his church.
“There are four of us who help set up and tear down at the St. Gerard Festival,” he said. “We set up over a week’s time. That was interesting last year. I had football camps in the morning, and then I’d be setting up there until 9 at night. That was some conditioning.”
Alex has also made time to get involved with the quiz bowl as well as track. He finds that staying involved has given him a home at Allen East.
“It helps in transition when you go to a new place to keep busy,” he said. “It makes for less down time and it keeps you out of trouble.”
A straight-A student, with the exception of a B in Spanish, Alex already has his sights set on continuing his education at the college level.
“From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture or automotive,” he said. “Between my experiences here and my strengths in math and science, I’ve determined that I will become a mechanical engineer.”
Along with his major, Alex also has a few possible college destinations in mind.
“My family got me on a college search early on in life,” he said. “Purdue, Michigan and Cincinnati look like good schools. I’ve only visited Purdue, and when you go there, it brightens it up a little bit. But once I visit the other two, I’ll have a better idea of where I’m going.”
When the time comes for him to enroll, that is just one more transition Alex can add to his list.