Story and photo by Julie M. Lucas
Some people say that today’s youths are a bunch of wild, disrespectful children, but some of those children will one day be future leaders of our country. At Fountain-Fort Carson High School, one such youth walks the hallways.
Patrick Stevenson II, son of Lt. Col. Patrick Stevenson, commander of 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Pamela Stevenson, is a soft-spoken teen, but you can see the determination in his eyes.
“Whatever I can learn to do, I want to do it,” he said.
Stevenson, currently a junior at FFCHS, was recently honored by being nominated to attend the Global Youth Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., and New York. The previous year, he was nominated by a former coach at Pine Forest High School in North Carolina to attend the national conference.
“GYLC is about making better leaders. They take you out of your environment and comfort zone and allow you to meet other (kinds) of people,” the younger Patrick said.
Patrick made an impression on people at last year’s conference with his debate on gun violence and took the stance of being anti-guns, saying he thinks guns should be outlawed.
“If we got rid of firearms, things would be so much more peaceful. It would end wars, domestic violence. As long as anyone can own a weapon, it would be harder to achieve that,” he said.
During the two-week conference this summer, one of the opportunities Patrick will have is to visit the United Nations with thousands of youths from countries all over the world. They will have an opportunity to have leadership roles and meet delegates as well as members of congress.
While at FFCHS, Patrick participates in football, wrestling, Young Life (a Christian organization) and is a member of the leadership club. He hopes after high school to get a degree in psychology, business management or law. Some might say Patrick is a natural-born leader, being the oldest of four sons.
Being military, the Stevenson Family knows all too well about moving to different duty stations, but that hasn’t stopped Patrick from fitting in.
“Since I was young, my dad always told me you have to establish yourself and respect others,” Patrick said. “Moving every year, talking to different people, playing sports … I’ve learned there are different things out there and if you stay in one spot, you limit yourself.”
His parents agree that Patrick is building on what life has taught him to get to where he is today.
“This fits into our lifestyle of being military, we move and have to be ambassadors and (Patrick) has to naturally be an ambassador. (Patrick) uses sports and academics to do that,” said his father. “We’re so happy that Patrick can represent (FFCHS) and the Fort Carson community.”
FFCHS principal James M. Calhoun Jr. added what a benefit having good student leaders is to the school.
“Students like Patrick are crucial to have in the building because they help students make good decisions. Patrick’s leadership helps make this a great school,” said Calhoun.
Patrick’s advice to other youths who are interested in making a difference and being someone for people to look up to is simple: “Work hard and stay true to who you are,” he said. “Don’t try to fit anyone else’s standard.”