Ian Gaunt, More than a National Merit Semi-Finalist

Ian Gaunt, More than a National Merit Semi-Finalist

I’ve had classes with Ian Gaunt for my first three years of attending Bishop Manogue, and in each one he made it significantly better. He is an incredibly funny person and it is exhilarating to talk to him. Each conversation is filled with laughter and it was no different when I sat down with him to ask him more about his life.
The first thing I asked him as we sat was where he was from. Most people who live in Reno were born and raised here, but that’s not the case with Ian. He moved from north Massachusetts freshman year during the COVID-19 shut downs, “It was kinda difficult to like get into the Reno spirit considering nobody was outside.” Northeast America is infamously cold during the winter, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that Reno has tame winters compared to the north, “That’s why I wear shorts in the winter!” I think this is really what defines Ian as a person, his ability to adapt and find humor in the most outrageous ways.
Any Manogue student walking down the hallway will see Ian Gaunt’s photo on the wall, saying that he is a National Merit Semi-Finalist. However, Ian shared the hilarious truth behind the portraits so proudly displayed, “The photos are bad…they had taken me and Madeline out in front of the building on an October morning, and just said ‘here, stand there.’” Ian continues that the reason that there were so “dookie” was because they “were taken by Ms. Thoresons iPhone 13, into the sun.” I inquired about the process that comes with becoming a finalist, “So it’s like to get semi-finalist you have to get a certain PSAT score,” In order to compete to become a semi-finalist you need at least a 715 or above in both sections of the test. “[To become a] finalist, they basically take everyone, it’s just to say like ‘hey did you cheat or not?’…and then about 50% of the finalists get a scholarship, whether that be from National Merit, from companies, or from colleges, so it’s kind of a coin-flip.” I wasn’t personally aware of how important the PSAT could be, and didn’t study significantly for the test. I asked him what his preparation looked like and he told me that he “studied maybe a couple days,” and that he “looked over some tests and stuff.” When preparing for my ACT I sought out tutoring from a facility that specialized in it for months, and when I asked him how he did it so easily he said, “I think I just got really good at taking tests.”
School comes seemingly effortlessly to Ian, so I asked him what he liked to do on the weekends. He told me that he likes to spend time with his family on most Saturdays, “I kinda just hang around the house with my brother and watch shows with my dad.” He told me that their go-to show is “Nathan for You” a show full of dry humor making fun of societal norms, the encapsulation of Ian’s humor. He is a part of Manogue’s robotics team, “I spend my Sundays building.” Curious to hear more, he told me about their current project, “I have to help with the assembly of gear boxes and stuff, and then once the season kicks in, I start actually programming it…it’s a lot of fun.” Ian has a job tutoring at Code Ninjas which shows his passion for programming. He made a chunk of his service hours volunteering at Lego League events, which is a global robotics competition for children through building and programming LEGO robots to complete specific tasks. He said that it was his favorite thing to do for his service hours.

Ian also has a passion for making and listening to music, he told me that he makes whatever he wants, “right now I’m getting into synthesizing drums… when you’re listening to rap and country you just hear the same kind of kicks and snares all the time.” He wants to change the way we hear drums in music, “I think it’s way cooler to hear sound-bites of things you’ve never heard before.” He told me about his recent endeavor of collecting vinyl records, his first record being an album by Stromae, a french artist who makes electronic dance music. “I have always been the type to like to collect stuff… as someone who likes music and likes collecting things it was fun to have all the albums that I like.”

To some, Ian is just the guy hanging on the wall in the hallway, but if you sit down and talk to him you’ll find what a fascinating and hilarious individual he is. His vibrant spirit will have you smiling in seconds and he always has a story to tell that will leave you doubled over, simply by the way he tells it. I encourage anyone to strike up a conversation with him, you won’t regret it.

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About the Contributor
Brooke Jensen
Brooke Jensen, Staff Writer
Brooke is a Senior and it is her second year in Broadcast Journalism. She enjoys swimming, film, and creating her own film projects. She hopes to pursue Cinematography in college and hopes that Broadcast Journalism will help teach her helpful skills for her future. She is thrilled to spend another fantastic year with the Miner TV and Miner Detail staff!

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