Editor’s Desk

Column: A teen with hidden talents

May 18, 2013 

There's more to Ryan Callahan than meets the eye.

JOHNNY WHITFIELD — jwhitfield@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

Quiet people fascinate me. I see them as wise gatherers of information waiting for the right moment to put that knowledge to good use.

Ryan Callahan fits that bill.

The 13-year-old Zebulon boy lives just over the county line in Franklin County. He’s an eighth-grader at Bunn Middle School bound for Bunn High next year.

He’s a reserved kind of kid, eyes constantly watching what goes on around him, not speaking too much, but full of interesting things to say when he does speak.

Ryan is the youngest of two brothers born to Bryan and Pam Callahan. Older brother Chris will graduate from Bunn High School next month.

Ryan watched his older brother closely and learned from him. He says he’s benefitted in other ways – ways you wouldn’t expect – by being the youngest child.

“I get all his old clothes,” Ryan told me the other day. “In fact, I’m the youngest of all my cousins, and so I get a lot of their stuff and they wear some pretty nice clothes.”

That’s not exactly the kind of thing most children his age would appreciate. But Ryan is practical to a fault. Good is good, and he’s not pretentious about much of anything.

Despite his quiet demeanor, Ryan Callahan is no wallflower. He worries about a lot of the same things other teens worry about: school, grades, what others think about him. But he seems to have those worries under control. He does really well in school, taking a host of hard courses at the middle school level in preparation for advanced placement classes he wants to next year as a Bunn High freshman.

And, he’s learned another lesson from watching his brother: Don’t procrastinate.

Chris will sometimes put things off then find himself hustling to finish a school assignment at the last moment. Ryan wants none of that.

“I get started on that stuff right away so I don’t have to worry about it on the weekend or whatever,” he said.

Then, as there always is with quiet people, there are Callahan’s hidden talents.

The boy makes fishing lures.

He loves to fish and he’s learned over time what works and what doesn’t.

He’s created a little set up at home that he uses to make his own lures.

A bait shop up in Virginia offered to put some of them on sale. They sold well, so he’s been invited to make more.

Each lure takes about 75 seconds to make. He generally makes about 25 to 30 in an hour, though. Choosing not to go too fast with his craft, Ryan is focused more on quality than quantity.

That’s a rare commodity among young people today, most of whom seem interested in rushing through something so they can mark it off their list before rushing along to the next thing. Chalk that up as another lesson learned. He clearly gets the idea that quality matters more than quantity.

If Ryan is a quiet soul, he is, at the very least, an attentive soul.

It’s a quality that will serve him well for a long, long time to come.

jwhitfield@newsobserver.com

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