A Home Run Story

Although eight years have passed since alumnus Clayton Waltz attended HRS, for him, those years have gone by in a blink of an eye.

Clayton attended HRS for middle school when it was located in Capitol Hill. He can still rattle off all his fond memories like playing football on the field, ‘R’ controlled vowels, writing in cursive, baseball, and especially his friends and teachers. For Clayton, many of these experiences and memories helped form who he is today.

After HRS, Clayton went to Bellevue Christian High School where he continued to succeed academically and athletically. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Puget Sound. Not only did he graduate from UPS in June with two majors, one in business administration and the other in communications studies, but he graduated with honors while excelling as a full-time student athlete playing baseball all four years of college.

Clayton began playing baseball at a young age and stayed with it throughout his teens. "Baseball was an outlet that made me feel normal and that is why I was so drawn to it; on the field, I was the same as everyone else. And then, when I went to HRS where the students learned like me, like baseball, I finally fit in. 

There wasn’t any hesitation in his voice before singing the praises of the Slingerland Method® and crediting his academic success to his time at HRS.

He also continues to prefer writing in cursive over manuscript. His level 8 teacher, Ms. Ledbetter, helped him develop good time management skills, confidence, and work ethic, and she continued to support him throughout high school. It turns out Clayton has a technique from his time at HRS he uses to balance his many commitments. This unique method was something he learned from Ms. Ledbetter. She taught him to write everything down on sticky notes and stack them up so only one task is visible at a time. This method helped him with his time management and organization skills which he knew would be extremely important when keeping up with his homework, long baseball practices, and traveling.

Much of Clayton's college experience took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, so baseball was a blissful escape. It was hard to be on a computer all day doing virtual classes in the same place he slept, so baseball practice was a great physical outlet and ultimately helped him become a better student and athlete. His dedication paid off when he helped his college baseball team achieve the best record in school history. 

Today, he can see how his dyslexia is an advantage, allowing him to think outside the box and look at situations differently from his peers.

Looking back, if he could give advice to his 8th grade self, it would be to not worry so much about what is 'normal' and to know everything will end up how it is supposed to.

Since graduating from college, Clayton took a well-deserved month traveling to Thailand, Hawaii, Arizona, and has since made his way back to Seattle where he is working at Pitchbook, a leading resource for comprehensive data, as a Sales Development Representative. He hopes to continue to learn and grow in his career for the foreseeable future, and maybe even join their club softball team!

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