Lance Poole's boss wanted to promote the Moffat County High School senior as a 16-year-old, but it would have broken every precedent.
Yet, two years later, Craig Safeway Manager Chuck Sadvar can't wait any longer.
"It's the first time in 38 years I've turned management over to an 18-year-old," Sadvar said. "He will be the
youngest employee ever to have keys to the store."
Poole, a somewhat lanky 6-foot-6-inch senior, regularly hears praise for a job well done from his boss, but it doesn't seem to affect him. It's part of the senior's work ethic and personality that he's only once called in sick during 2 1/2 years of employment with the store. That also explains why he never says 'no' to taking on a task at the store. Poole has been trained in every department. He's the head of store operations if Sadvar is absent and soon will be head clerk.
"I'm always up for a challenge," Poole said. "If I can learn anything new, I'll do it."
Poole started working at the store full time so he could have spending money in high school. The senior said he likes having the extra dough to make payments and trick out his white 2002 Dodge Ram pickup. He also enjoys riding his dirt bike, a hobby that can get expensive, he said.
Although Poole said he has earned enough credits to graduate, he said he plans to walk with the rest of his class. He's taking two classes at the high school this semester, which leaves enough time for a regular 40-hour workweek.
Unlike some of his high school counterparts, Poole probably won't be heading off to a four-year school next year.
If schooling is in his plans, the self-described "hands on" worker said he might consider attending a vocational technical school to learn skills toward performing a specific job.
He's fond of welding, building things and a class he took called outdoor science. "Book work," he said, never much agreed with him.
"I like to be outside," he said. "I like to do things with my hands."
In general, Poole said he's viewed high-school life as filled with "drama" and composed of some students who seem to be out of touch with reality.
"There's a lot of students up there with their parents still paying for everything," he said. "They've got to wake up. It's going to hurt them when they go out into society and have to pay their own bills. I like to have fun too, but work's No. 1."
Poole added, "I've been told I'm more mature than anyone people know in my age group. I just kind of go with it."
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.