Colo-NESCO senior Alex Dunahoo, 17, said he’s appreciated his years in the Colo-NESCO School District, which he’s attended all the way through his youth.

“I’ve liked the ability to have classes where teachers can help every student who needs it,” he said, saying he wouldn’t trade the small school atmosphere that C-N has provided him.

Alex has also liked growing up in Zearing, where he said he’s had the ability to know everyone. “If you have a problem, you can go to so many people and have them help you.” He’s also been very active in his hometown church family at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church. He’s been a lector in the church for the past two years, and he’s helped with meals at funeral services and anything else the church has needed him to do.

The son of Bruce and Nancy Dunahoo, Alex said his goal during his time of growing up has been “just being the best and striving to do 100 percent” on the things he does. And there are plenty of things he does.

First, there’s FFA. He’s been president of the school’s chapter both last year and this year. “I like being able to learn about agriculture with a whole bunch of people who also love it and are willing to do stuff with it,” he said.

Second, there’s football. He’s a lineman on the team, and he’s learned the eight-man game all the way through high school. “It’s really fast-paced and a lot of running.” And even with some tough losses this year, Dunahoo stays positive. “You’ve got to keep looking to the next game and stay focused on that.” And he agrees there’s more to being in a sport than winning. He’s felt the excitement of playing under the lights in a close game that you end up winning. “It’s been fun to be with my friends and fun to compete.”

Third, there’s student council. Alex has been part of this for all four high school years. “We’re in charge of all the homecoming stuff and winter formal and all the projects that can benefit our school.” He likes that he’s been able to be a voice for everyone in the school and has been able to make little changes, if they’re needed.

Fourth, there’s a return to basketball. Alex played as a freshman and then didn’t go out his sophomore and junior years. He’s going back out this year. “I took it for granted and I want to appreciate it now (by going back out),” he said. He looks forward to playing for the new coach, who is also the high school principal, Brandon Kelley. “Mr. Kelley has a lot of experience and will be good.”

Fifth, there’s the mentoring program. “Last year, I had two students, an eighth-grader and a fifth-grader that I helped. I was a buddy they could talk to.” Alex said being a mentor has been a good reminder to him that his actions are important. Younger students are always watching.

Along with all these main involvements, it should be no surprise that Alex is a member of National Honor Society.

As for the people he appreciates, he said one teacher really stands out at school, and that’s Mr. Greenfield, who also coaches football. “He’s been able to teach me, both in school to learn and out of school (on the playing field) how to act. He can get mad if we’re not focused, because he always wants the best for us.”

Also influential in his life are his parents. They run a small corn and soybean operation and his dad is also a truck driver. “My parents have been real important; they’ve pushed me and wanted me to be the best that I could be,” he said. They also raised two daughters, who are older than Alex. His sister, Becca, 22, now works at Bank Iowa in Oskaloosa as a farm loan manager; his sister, Morgan, 19, is at Clark College in Dubuque, studying to be a physical therapist.

Alex plans to go to DMACC for two years and then attend Iowa State University. He plans to study business and economics.

Now, as he thinks about what he’s going to miss from high school, he said “relationships… the relationships I’ve built with friends, family and teachers.”

To the younger students who still have high school years ahead of them, Alex advises this: “Do everything that you can and be involved in every opportunity that’s possible, because that’s how you’ll get the most out of your high school experience.”