Ezra

Thorp High School senior Ezra Richardson poses for his senior portrait.

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THORP — Being homeschooled all his life and living in a Central Asian country for 14 years, Ezra Richardson wanted to ease into a new beginning in the United States.

While he made frequent trips to the States over the years and has family in the Central Washington area, it’s still an adjustment becoming accustomed to the American culture.

“I don’t know, it’s weird because I’m talking in a completely different language,” Richardson said. “And having local friends, doing stuff completely different. My passport says here (in America), but I don’t even know the culture here.”

Richardson was born in Marysville but when he was 2 years old, he, his parents and three other siblings moved to Tajikistan in Central Asia. Richardson’s parents work for Humanitarian Aid.

But when his three older siblings moved back to the States, he didn’t want to live without them. So, in March of 2019, Richardson moved to Ellensburg and enrolled at Thorp to finish his final two years of high school.

“My cousin was going to Thorp and I was just looking at different places because like I said before, I was really interested in sports,” Richardson said, who lives with his sister who’s enrolled at Central Washington University. “But I wasn’t really interested in a big school. So, I wanted to know my class and being homeschooled all my life I didn’t want to go to a big school.”

Part of the reason Richardson was allured to the States was to participate in athletics, specifically football and track and field. He played club soccer for two years in Central Asia, but options were limited for athletics.

After enrolling at Thorp, he made it in time for Kittitas’ spring track and field season. He participated in the triple jump, long jump, 4x400 meter relay and javelin.

“I tried pretty much every event and then kind of narrowed it down to which ones I enjoyed more,” Richardson said.

SEAHAWKS FANS

As for football, his affinity for it arrived just before the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl win in the 2013-14 season. With a 12-hour time difference, the family consistently watched games in the early hours of the morning.

He had an aura of passion for football, but American football was absent in Tajikistan. But last fall, he played his first season at the high school level for Kittitas football at both a wide receiver and cornerback.

“It was hard,” he said. “We had hard practices and it was a blast. A lot of challenges, a lot of hard work. But it’s a blast for that work to transfer into making a tackle or doing stuff like that. I really enjoyed it.”

As for post-graduation, Richardson is planning to attend Alaska Bible College for a year to be near his brother and also “to be grounded in my faith personally.”

After that, he’s hoping to pursue a degree in accounting but wants to potentially work in sports statistics.

“Accounting, something with numbers, sports, kind of along those lines,” Richardson said.

Thorp High School is proceeding with its graduation ceremony on Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic, but with restrictions to comply with the state’s mandate. And it’s a little more feasible with a graduating class of 14 students.

Superintendent and principal Andrew Perkins said the school will keep distance between the graduates, and there will be no handshakes when receiving diplomas. When called, graduates will receive their diploma from a center table, instead of from Perkins. The ceremony will also be outside on the football field instead of the gymnasium, and the audience will watch from their vehicles.

“There’s been a lot of disappointments for sure, but I think after this I can look back and just know that I’m actually quite privileged because a lot of schools won’t get graduation,” Richardson said.

“... We’ve lost a lot of opportunities, losing track and just normal classes. But I think looking back I could say I’m pretty privileged because a lot of kids don’t even get to have what I’m going to get.”

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