“Every day is new, even if it's bad, smile and push through it.”
Larry shares his UNH story with such gratitude and appreciation for the people he has met and all the interesting things he has been involved in. As he reflects about his experience, he himself can't quite believe how his life unfolded at UNH.
Almost five years ago Larry was a first year student in the Thompson School of Applied Sciences at UNH enrolled in a two-year program studying Business. He started UNH with a lot of doubts, convinced that in two years he would be done, move home and work in the industry he knew well from his high school days - party equipment rentals. He was not keen on being at school and had a hard time adjusting. He credits his Hall Director in Hetzel Hall, Stephanie Reed, for helping him to sort things out his first two years. It was in Hetzel Hall that he met one of his best friends. They have remained close over the last five years. To his surprise he graduated in the top ten of his class at the Thompson School and then enrolled full-time in a Bachelor’s Degree program at UNH. This time he was not sure what he wanted to study, or where his education would lead.
Two years ago Larry was at the UNH recreation center picking up snow shoes when he first spotted the Quad Rugby Team. He was intrigued. Coach Chandler noticed his curious look. Chandler approached Larry and asked if he wanted to join in and play. Larry passed. But, he returned and kept watching. Soon enough he was participating in a chair playing rugby just like everyone else on the court. From that moment he was hooked! He quickly learned not to make assumptions about the players. They were tough, and they could do much more for themselves than he first realized. Over time this team of strangers became his family at UNH. Larry became more knowledgeable about the sport, the complex point systems, strategies of the game, the equipment and how much he loved being part of the team.
Larry no longer notices that his friends on the team are disabled. They go out to eat after practice, hang out and have developed great relationships with each other. At times Larry finds himself explaining to others with less experience that his teammates all have jobs, lead normal lives and have the ability to be outstanding athletes. As the Assistant Coach, Larry travels with the team to tournaments and never misses a practice.
At the same time Larry is a serious student majoring in Recreation Management and Policy with a focus on Program Administration. His business sense and entrepreneurial spirit is very alive, but his direction has shifted over the years. He has engaged himself with many non-profits helping them with larger projects. He has helped Camp Lincoln and Northeast Passage strengthen their marketing plans. This summer he will be interning with Northeast Passage to help with the planning of the Three Notch Century, an impressive bike race through the White Mountains, which serves as a fundraiser. During his senior year over winter break Larry began substitute teaching in his home town every Friday.
For the past several years alongside his Mom, Larry managed to fit in walking for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. Over the course of three years together they have raised over $20,000 for this important cause. While Larry was a participant in this event, he also found himself informally studying all aspects of the event as someone who is interested in the business side of event planning and fundraising. He became inspired witnessing that a group of dedicated people can come together and raise 5 million dollars for a vital cause while having fun! It makes him dream about being an event planner for a non-profit doing good work for others.
Larry is industrious, warm, and creative. When he isn't coaching, working, or being a student he may be found fishing with his best friend from his first year at UNH, or crocheting hats. With three prototypes, Larry has made crocheting hats into a mini side business.
In talking to Larry, you get the feeling that he is almost pinching himself to be sure all of these wonderful experiences he has had at UNH are not simply a dream. He started here filled with doubts, yet he kept working hard, and over time has become very productive and happy. He finds joy in his friendships, classes and the many projects he has been involved in. It is as if he would have never imagined his life to be as it is five years ago.
Larry would say everything has just fallen into place at UNH. But, it is Larry's warm manner and open mind that have played a role in his success. He can't say for sure what is next, but is considering graduate school and sees himself involved in the non-profit world in some capacity.