Wise serves as quiet leader in Carbon Hill

Ed Howell
Posted 5/18/17

Editor’s note: Over the next few days, we will feature stories on graduating seniors from each of the high schools in Walker County. Today, we feature Carbon Hill High senior Gunner Wise.

By ED HOWELL

Daily Mountain Eagle

CARBON HILL - …

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Wise serves as quiet leader in Carbon Hill

Posted

Editor’s note: Over the next few days, we will feature stories on graduating seniors from each of the high schools in Walker County. Today, we feature Carbon Hill High senior Gunner Wise.

By ED HOWELL

Daily Mountain Eagle

CARBON HILL - Gunner Wise, while not the flashiest student at Carbon Hill High School, is a well-liked, good-humored student — and, in fact, a serious athletic competitor, displaying successful leadership on the school’s recent championship golf team.

But away from the links he is, most of all, considered dependable and helpful, something of a behind-the-scenes leader and assistant.

“Gunner is one of the students who stays in the background,” Carbon Hill High School counselor Debra Jacks said. “He makes sure everyone else is in front to get the attention that they need. He’s just an all-around great kid. He’s willing to help in any way. If I need something done, I guarantee if I ask him, he is, ‘Yes, ma’am, I’ll do it,’ and he will get it done the correct way.”

Wise, 18, is very polite, but is also funny, she said. “He has a personality. He likes to joke and cut up,” said. “But he is a really good kid. He’s not one who does that in class and acts up. He’s very quiet, because he knows when not to act like a funny kind of kid. He’s not so shy that he doesn’t fit in with everyone, but does sort of stay in the background.”

He is the son of Tim and Robin Wise, who live in the Eldridge area. “It is considered Nauvoo, but it is closer to Eldridge,” he said. “It is about five miles north of Eldridge.”

A major part of his story is that his sister, Rachel, is a twin, she said. Wise said she is two minutes older than he is.

“He takes it upon himself to make sure his sister is where she is supposed to be — which she always is — but he is just the big brother in his mind,” Jacks said. “He looks after her.”

At the same time, she looks after him, too. His sister approached Jacks at about the time of the interview to make sure when his brother was supposed to be there for the interview, she said with a laugh.

Wise said the siblings are very close, hanging out together or riding to school together.

“We’re probably together most of the day,” he said, except when separated by classes or other school activities.

Both of the students work hard and are achievers, Jacks said. “They both have the same amount of work ethic,”Jacks said. “They are very good, hard-working students.”

Wise noted he has another half-sister on his father’s side, named Chrystal.

Jacks said Wise has concern for others, and was involved in the Big Brother Big Sister program to the students at adjacent Carbon Hill Elementary School.

“He is the kind of kid who doesn’t meet a stranger. He doesn’t mind building someone up,” she said. “If I have a new student coming in and I need a student, he would be one I would call to make sure that kid had someone out there in that building who is close to his own age to go to in time of need.” 

At the same time, as opposed to being the classic leader, “I see him being the pusher. He’s a leader, but he’s also one of those who says, ‘Let’s do this.’ He’s not always in the front, and is not one who likes a lot of attention.”

However, he apparently can get in front if he needs to. English teacher Leslie Burrough noted Wise performed one of the main roles in a play recently at the school.

“He really stepped up,” she said. “I’m not used to seeing Gunner in the spotlight. He did very well.”

Yet she agreed he allows his sister to take the lead in the spotlight, while he stays in the background —although he is fully involved in just about any activity.

“He definitely has leadership qualities,” she said. “I’m with Ms. Jacks. I feel like he pushes, just like with the play. When we were backstage, there was one section of the play they were supposed to carry one particular hat.”As she was assisting in the back, he approached her to know where the hat was, as he knew it was important for the scene. “He knew what he was supposed to be doing, and he knew what everyone else was supposed to be doing.”

Burrough noted Wise’s sense of humor (which he describes as dry). She pointed to Wise and other senior escorts’s participation in the Miss Hilltop Echoes Pageant. A video later surfaced where the escorts acted as if they were preparing by getting facials and masks.

“He was front and center in that video with his mask on,” she said.

Burrough has never been in the class of English teacher Leslie Burrough, but his sister is her babysitter, which in turn as allowed her to know Gunner and to depend on him and see the same qualities Jacks sees.

“I think the world of him,” she said. “He comes to our house a lot at the end of the day with my grandmother. He will come to pick up Rachel or catch a ride with her. He’s crazy over my (11-month-old) son. Anderson always just goes over to him. He loves Gunner. He always makes him laugh.”

On a recent Sunday, two days after the senior prom, Wise and other seniors put on their tuxes again and made sure they had their photo taken with Anderson, she said.

Golf is the major activity in Wise’s life, serving on Carbon Hill High’s golf team, which went 9-3 this year.

The team won the county tournament at Horse Creek Golf Course in Dora in April. The Bulldogs finished with a 389 total, beating second-place Oakman by three strokes.

Wise was on the all-tournament team. “I was one stroke away from getting the lowest score,” he said.

Members of the team, coached by Bill Madison, included Wise, Alex Earnest, Blake Garner, Caleb Sides and Dillon Roberts, Cole Earnest, Mason Sanders and Chason Humphries.

Gunner is one of the most level-headed students I have ever taught or coached,” Madison emailed to the Daily Mountain Eagle. “He doesn't get too high or too low no matter what the situation might be. That is what you want to see as a teacher and definitely as a golf coach.

“The qualities of Gunner's personality has definitely been beneficial to his golf game. He has made progress over the last three years that I have been his coach; steady progress just like his personality. He is quick witted and not afraid to joke around about the game of golf. Believe me, there is plenty in high school golf to joke and laugh about.”

Madison said Wise has been a member of two Walker County Championship golf teams in 2015 and 2017. Wise was also a member of the county runner-up team in 2016.

“He has been a part of the 2015 and 2017 sub-state golf team as well (Sweet 16),” he said. “This year was the first time he has made All-Tournament for the county tournament and missed low medalist by one stroke.

“He has been a great example to his teammates this year and I'm certainly going to miss his leadership. I know I have lost Gunner as a student and player but I am certain that I have gained a friend.”

Asked how he did for the year, Wise only said, “I’ve had my days here and there. All round, it was a really good year.”

Wise said he has only been playing golf for just a few years. “In the time I’ve been playing, I’ve done well for myself,” he said.

His father has played the game for years and got him interested in playing, he said. At first he would just ride around the course with the other players, and then he finally started playing. At that point, he said the game was addictive, and he now considers it his passion, playing almost every weekend.

“I used to play basketball. I didn’t make it after my sophomore year. I kept trying, but just never made it again,” he said.

Asked where he likes to play golf, Wise said he plays with his father and a group of friends. “We’ll play at courses around Cullman and some in Birmingham,” he said. Asked for his favorite, he picked the Highlands in Birmingham.

“It’s kind of tough but it fun. I played there once. I haven’t got to play a lot there, but it is very nice. I would probably say it is my favorite. I would go today if I could.” Wise, who says he is an average student, said he is in most of the student clubs offered to males. That includes the Anchor Club, which Burrough also sponsors, which he noted has taken items up to a nursing home.

He also noted his interest in the Big Brother Big Sister program, which was more active last year, when he and other older students took small students out to the playground to play or read to them.

“That was pretty fun. I enjoy doing that,” he said, noting he enjoys interacting with children.

Asked what he likes to do with friends, he said there is not much to do in Carbon Hill so they will play basketball or watch sports — “just kind of hang out.”

As for his future career plans, he is not sure, although he knows he will start his education with Bevill State Community College, where many of his classmates are also heading. “I’m kind of thinking about going into radiology,” he said, noting it would not require as much schooling as in a four-year institution, which saves money. “I can make just as much money doing that as I can with a four-year degree,” he said. “I’ve been looking at a lot of trades lately.”

If he going into radiology, he would likely transfer to Wallace State Community College for his second year.

He said he is involved in the Eldridge Church of Christ, where he has volunteered in the past. He was involved for about four years on Friday nights at the food bank, although he hasn’t done that in a while due to school activities on Friday nights.

Wise said he does try to look out for others who are close to him. “I just try to help everyone else out,” he said, nothing he and his class are tight-knit as a group.

Asked what it meant to attend Carbon Hill and live in the area, he said, “I enjoy it. It is such a small community. Everybody knows everybody. I just enjoy it, versus to being in a big city, where you hardly know anyone,”he said.