Finding success in the classroom isn’t quite second nature, Jonathan Tidd admits. After all, there’s hard work involved, hours of study, and ideally, understanding and comprehending the subject matter.
But the avenue for success is available to anybody willing to put in the work, Tidd said.
“I feel like if you’re supposed to do your work, you’re supposed to do your work right,” said Tidd, who will join his fellow senior classmates for Iola High School‘s 2015 commencement Sunday. “Therefore, you should get an A. Tests are intended — if you know the subject matter — for you to get an A. Tests aren’t intended for you to get a C.”
Tidd has proven his mettle in the classroom, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average through high school.
He’ll be the third of his siblings to be recognized as class valedictorian. Josh, the oldest, is the only sibling not to have earned all A’s.
“He would have done it, but he got a B his last semester of calculus,” Tidd said, and instead was named class salutatorian.
As the children of David and the late Julie Tidd, the Tidd siblings have known all their lives what was expected of them, in and out of the classroom.
“Working on a farm, when you’re supposed to do your job, you’re supposed to do it correctly,” Tidd said. “If you don’t do your job, bad things can happen.”
His parents have been demanding, and invaluable.
“Our parents would force us to do our best, but we knew they were working hard, too. They set the example,“ he said. “We didn’t want to let them down.”
Even after his mother died of cancer in 2012, Jonathan used her as an inspiration.
“I still wanted to do well in school,” he said. “ I just knew that she’d definitely want me to continue pursuing whatever I wanted to do. She wanted me to do well.”
FOR MOST of his childhood, Tidd had his sights set on the Air Force Academy, part of his impetus to excel in the classroom.
“If you wanted to stand out, being valedictorian was one of the best ways to do it,“ he explained.
Eventually, his desire to join the Air Force was supplanted by dreams of attending Kansas State University, where he’ll study chemical engineering.
There, he’ll room with older brother, Jason, as well as his classmate, Garrett Prall, and Prall’s older brother, Wyatt. (Wyatt Prall and Jason Tidd are 2013 IHS grads).
TIDD credits the efforts of two instructors, history teacher Travis Hermstein and bandleader Matt Kleopfer, as having pivotal roles in his academic journey.
“The hardest classes were Mr. Hermstein’s,” he said. “He always loved to push you to do beyond your best. If he thought you were slacking, you’d get a B.”
Tidd eventually eked out an A — “It was a B up until near the end,” he said — but the lessons learned reached beyond the textbook.
“Mr. Hermstein and Mr. K are definitely two examples,” he said. “It’s not as much teaching you material, as it is teaching you how to be successful in life. They taught us how to show up on time and how sometimes it’s more important to put others before yourself.”
But such lessons were hardly unique at Iola High.
“Even classes I didn’t think I’d need, I learned from them,” he said. “I just like learning as much as I can. When you like learning, that’s something you can do all your life. You’ll never stop.”