Ryker Curry: His passion for baseball leaves room for academics

Ryker Curry proves you can pursue your passion for sport, while staying focused on your studies.

Ryker — along with his twin sister, Braxton — is one of six candidates for the class of 2022 promotion from Iola High School. The class graduates at 2 p.m. Saturday at the stadium in Riverside Park; in case of rain, the event will be moved to the IHS gymnasium.

Ryker’s dedication to baseball has been well documented, including his health issues. In March 2016, he underwent open-heart surgery. Ryker was soon given the green light to return to competitive play, but faced another heart procedure the following year that put his baseball career in doubt. He was diagnosed with a disease that affects the body’s circulation.

He didn’t let that stop him, forcing himself to go through his rehabilitation and learning to take care of his body so he could keep playing.

The challenges continued to present themselves, with elbow surgery to repair damage to his right pitching arm and, most recently, a shoulder injury that has kept him from pitching for the past few weeks.

Then, of course, came the COVID-19 pandemic which completely wiped out its second season.

But despite the numerous health issues, Ryker found a way to stay close to baseball.

He plans to continue finding ways to stay close to the sport.

Ryker signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Pittsburg State University, where he will major in exercise science.

He hopes to work as an athletic trainer or in some degree in exercise science.

“I love baseball and I think it would be cool to work with a baseball team. I just want to stick around the game no matter what it takes to do that,” he said.

THROUGH all the physical challenges, rehabilitation, and baseball practice, Ryker has managed to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA.

It helped to have a twin sister, who shared several classes. They could share and compare their notes and help each other to study.

He credits his parents, Heath and Heather Curry, for helping push him and giving him the support he needed to succeed.

He also credits IHS teacher Travis Hermstein, who has a reputation as the toughest teacher in the district.

“Mr. Hermstein’s classes are always tough,” Ryker said.

He had to work even harder and develop new study habits like taking notes.

“It will prepare me for the future,” he said.

Again, COVID has made his school career even more difficult.

In its second year in 2020, students were sent home after spring break to continue homeschooling, virtually.

“It kind of made it difficult,” Ryker said.

He struggled with intermediate algebra and feared he would fail. Not only that, but it turned out that the math class he took in his freshman year built on the knowledge he was supposed to have picked up in the spring of his sophomore year.

He had to study even hard to recap those lessons and do well in his freshman year, with the various restrictions and challenges of the COVID pandemic still weighing on the school.

Still, Ryker appreciates the valuable lessons he learned from those difficult experiences.

“You just have to work hard and do your job.”