By Zandra Johnson
Hunter Leighty heard a story from his mom about how her senior class hiked to the ‘T’ and gave it a fresh coat of paint. He realized he wanted to make the trek up behind Troy High School just like his mom had done and give Troy’s symbolic letter a little tender loving care. Local hardware store, True Value, donated the supplies needed for the project. Hunter recruited his fellow classmate and friend Tyler Gromley to join him in the effort.
It took not one, but two days of work to finish, and Hunter’s younger sisters Jayden and Jayleen helped out to get it done.
You could say that ‘T’ is just some paint on a hill, but if you stop to think about all that it stands for, you might feel differently. It stands for the town of Troy, all the years and generations of families that have carved out lives for themselves here, and all of the happy memories made that have been made here, and the sad ones too. Troy’s T stands for the old, the young, and everyone in between that has chosen to make their mark on our small Montana town.
The fact that Hunter wants to maintain this small, but noteworthy piece of Troy is a testimony to his character. His efforts are also a reminder of the saying “our youth is our future.”
“I care about my future and I care about my classmates futures too,” Hunter told The Montanian.
Hunter has goals that will take him out of this town after his graduation in the spring, but while he’s still at home he wants to make the most of it and repainting Troy’s T was one of the ways he could do that.
Hunter said that his mom, Courtney Leighty, has been a big influence on his ambitions and so has his uncle, Tucker Winn, who he greatly admires.
Sports are also a big part of Hunter’s life. He’s played football and basketball, and participated in track all throughout high school, and he doesn’t plan on stopping now. As a second grader, Hunter began playing flag football and basketball, and he’s been hooked ever since. When asked who Hunter’s sports idle was, he said, “my uncle Tucker.” Tucker Winn played quarterback for Troy High School and graduated two years ago.
Hunter is playing wide receiver and quarterback this year. He will also play multiple positions on the basketball team. His height, at 6 feet, is an advantage on the court. In track, he runs the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes, and he went to state in his Junior year for all three events. He earned nineteenth place in the 100, sixteenth place in the 200, and eighth place in the 400. Hunter was also co-president of the Art Club during his Junior year, art is Hunter’s favorite subject.
From his name you might think he likes to do just that, and he says he does enjoy hunting in his free time. He has worked for the Forest Service for the last two summers through their Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program and says that working for the YCC has brought his love of hiking together with working for a good cause, maintaining our forests. The program has also allowed his to gain work experience, and of course, make some money.
With the school year here, Hunter now plans to focus on maintaining good grades. He knows that in the end it will all be worthwhile, and a senior trip might also help keep him motivated. For about a year now, he and his mom have been planning a trip together after graduation and before he leaves for college. The trip will be a cruise on the Mediterranean Sea starting in Greece and ending in Spain.
Undecided right now about what college to attend, Hunter is keeping his options open, but he remains dedicated to helping others.
His mom told The Montanian, “Hunter has always had a volunteering spirit and a desire to help others.” This year, in his senior year, he has found his confidence to just go out and start leaving his mark on his hometown. Painting the T is just one of the things he would like to do this year. He hopes to make some changes to promote school spirit, boost moral, and maybe inspire underclassmen to keep working at other things to improve our town, Leighty said.
“I am beyond blessed to be his mom. I am so very proud of him and thankful that he has made my job so easy. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.”
Thanks Hunter, for repainting Troy’s T, and for best of luck for an amazing senior year.
(Picture) Hunter repaints the T on the mountain above Troy High School last week. Photo courtesy of Hunter Leighty.