Myles Strong didn’t want to be noticed in middle school.
He kept to himself and never spoke in class. He wore bland polo shirts to avoid drawing anyone’s eyes.
“The Myles in middle school would not recognize this person. He’d think this was an alternate version of himself,” Strong, 19, said of himself Thursday at Madison East High School, where he is one of 360 seniors graduating Friday. La Follette High School also holds commencement exercises Friday, and ceremonies for Memorial and West are scheduled for Saturday.
High school is meant to stretch and push students. Strong’s transformation was particularly pronounced, faculty members say, turning a wallflower into a confident leader.
“This is one top-notch young man here,” East Principal Mary Kelley said Thursday when she ran into him in a school hallway.
Kelley was Strong’s principal at Black Hawk Middle School. By coincidence, they transitioned together to East four years ago.
Strong was so shy at Black Hawk he wouldn’t give his opinions in public, Kelley said. Strong puts it more pointedly: “I was living inside myself.”