Rifle has a sharp Whit | PostIndependent.com
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Rifle has a sharp Whit

Michael Whittington is not from Ireland. But the folks who order corn dogs at the Sonic drive-through in Rifle don’t know that.”I like to use fake accents when I take orders,” he said. “One guy asked if I was from Ireland. I said ‘yes,’ and he really believed me.”Whittington, a 17-year-old senior at Rifle High School, became a manager after six months of work at Sonic.”It’s hard sometimes,” he said, “especially with the other high school kids because they’re so close in age and we used to have the same jobs. I want to be their buddy, but I can’t always.” Whittington is a performer. When he’s not working 30 to 40 hours a week at Sonic, he takes to the stage. Whittington sings in the high school choir, which takes him all over the state for performances and competitions. He performs in the high school musicals and sings the national anthem at sporting events.Music is his passion. He plans to go to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley next fall to study music education. He said he was inspired by his choir teachers and the bond he has felt with them and the other students in his choir. “I always wanted to do something where I would make a lot of money,” Whittington said. “Now I’ve changed my mind because I don’t really think I’d be happy doing that. I want to teach music and have that closeness.”Whittington started singing at church with his mom when he was young. He joined the RHS choir as a freshman, though it wasn’t until his senior year he decided to completely dedicate himself to it. He went to the All State choir competition in February, where he fared well but said he wished he had done better.”All State is a pretty big deal. It takes a lot to get there,” Whittington said. “It was humbling. I got there and I was like, ‘Oh crap, these guys are good.'” He says he’s shy – then he stands on a concrete platform in the high school parking lot and unabashedly sings the national anthem, drawing a student or two through the open choir room door to watch.Whittington reads the morning announcements over the loudspeaker at school. He is the student body president and was the junior class president last year, a position he ran for as soon as his ego recovered from a loss the year before. Whittington is also the student ambassador to the Garfield School District Re-2 board. He sits at a table among the elected school board members and superintendent. His name placard is the only one that does not read “Mr.” or “Mrs.” He doesn’t get a vote, but he says the board members always listen to what he has to say.”It feels like my opinion really does get voiced,” Whittington said. “It can be boring, but I get to learn about Robert’s Rules of Order. That’s pretty interesting – to me, anyway.”He and junior Eva Cannon organized the tsunami relief penny war at RHS that raised more than $2,000. Whittington is also the historian for the high school drama club. “When it started out, I did all of this just to have a good resume for college applications,” Whittington said. “Now, if I’m not doing something, I’m bored.” When Whittington’s not too busy working or performing, he sings, plays piano and runs. He joined the cross country team in the fall. “I wasn’t any good, though,” Whittington said. “I just did it to get in shape.” He said he lost 25 pounds and still runs for fun in order to stay fit. He also likes to lift weights, although he says he’s “not very strong.”In the summer, Whittington goes fishing.”I’m not a very good fisherman,” he said. “Night fishing – that’s a lot of fun. Last summer we went out and caught 30 fish each. You’d drop your line and feel a little tug. Every time. That was good fishing only because they’d just stocked the lake.””I do a lot of things I’m not very good at,” he said. “They’re still fun.”This summer, Whittington won’t have much time for his hobbies. He will help Sonic open a new store in Delta.In the fall he’s off to Greeley, excited to begin something new. A couple of his closest friends plan to go to UNC with him. He’ll miss his old home town and the comfortable halls of Rifle High School.”I’ll miss it,” Whittington said. “I’m nervous. Nervous to go out there and face big competition.””I’ll miss it,” Whittington said. “I’m nervous. Nervous to go out there and face big competition.”


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