Big fish in a big pond

Jenna Liu

Junior Bryce Cordry walks with purpose, his lanky legs propelling him forward in powerful strides. This quality serves him well; as a student worker in the guidance office and the copy center, Cordry spends a large portion of his day walking around school with flyers and print-outs, many of which he created himself.
“I’m really known for my signs and bell schedules,” Cordry said. “I invented the diagram for the bell schedules, the one where it has the boxes.”
After the school bought new copiers two years ago, he read all the owners’ manuals cover to cover. When he gets home, he goes through a file on his computer labeled “Things to Print” and takes care of the guidance office’s printing needs.
“When there is a problem with one of the machines and the head guy comes out here, Bryce is so in tune to what they’re doing and asks questions… he’s always learning. He is the true epitome of the Rock Bridge [student] being a lifelong learner,” copy clerk Mike Woods said. “The head guy thinks Bryce loves copies as much as he does, and he would not hesitate to hire Bryce out of high school.”
When others meet Cordry, one of the first things they might notice is his slight stutter, which he said has been with him for as long as he can remember. Throughout middle and junior high school, Cordry received extensive speech and language services; he still visits with the speech teacher now but for different reasons.
“I see the speech teacher for other things, more — whatchamacaller — you know, how I conduct myself,” Cordry said. “I have Asperger’s Syndrome. You can look that up. It’s a form of high-functioning autism.”
According to Autism Speaks, an U.S. autism advocacy organization, many children with Asperger’s “have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors.”
It is true that Cordry has different interests than many Americans; he prefers “Wheel of Fortune” to “The Walking Dead” and has only seen six movies in his life. Though Cordry likes his unique interests just as they are, this lack of shared commonalities has limited his interaction with other teenagers.
“I really don’t have a lot of contact with people my age. I’m getting more of it, but I think that now I’ve established my reputation here so I think people end up looking up to me,” Cordry said. “I saw that on an email from a staff member when they were probably asking what I meant or something; I read the thing, ‘Oh, it’s probably just Bryce being Bryce.’ Everyone knows that I sort of have a weird personality.”
Woods, however, would not describe his personality as weird. He said Bryce simply has a unique mind.
“What a phenomenal guy [Cordry is]. I find his mind to be very fascinating,” Woods said. “ He knows where every teacher is, A and B day, every hour. I just marvel at that.”
Despite his idiosyncrasies, or perhaps in part because of them, Cordry has proved an invaluable resource at RBHS. From taping up flyers to designing the schedule diagrams, Cordry’s ‘always-working’ mentality and attention to detail make him one of a kind. He doesn’t see himself as particularly special, though.
“I’m just good at helping out and doing a good job,” Cordry said.