Peyton Wood and Ethan Murray are Murphy students.


    This is one of an occasional series of articles that draws attention to ordinary Cherokee County residents and their extraordinary lives.
    Murphy – Ethan Murray, a senior at Murphy High School, not only excels intellectually but also through athletics. He proudly represents his school and teammates.
     “I was born in 1998 in Nederland, Texas, where I lived until I was 3. All of my family is from there. My dad wasn’t there when I was born because he was stationed overseas in Germany,” Murray said.
    “When we first moved back, he was stationed at Fort Briggs Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas. I started kindergarten there.
    “I began first grade in Louisiana. I remember I was on the news there for getting a vaccination. After my first grade year I moved out to Colorado.
    “Then we moved back
out to El Paso, where I finished third grade. Then we moved to New Mexico, where I spent my fourth-grade year. The first time I ever ran a complete mile for time, and without stopping, was there.
    “My fifth-grade year was back in Texas again. We moved to Ohio, where I began sixth grade. I stayed in Ohio three years, which is tied for the longest I have ever lived in one spot.
    “There I started playing football. I broke my arm the first year, but was still able to play in a cast. In seventh grade, I played running back and defensive end. I was a little undersized at 60 pounds, but it was a very fun year.
    “In eighth grade, we moved after football season to Alabama. It was very small and a poor school district, therefore the education wasn’t great. I didn’t have a very good experience there, mostly because I was heartbroken from moving and missed all my friends in Ohio.
    “After Alabama, we moved back to Texas, where I began my freshman year of high school. I played football there. I had the most fun playing football there because it was very competitive, yet enjoyable at the same time.
    “However, it was very strict. It is almost like I imagine boot camp would be for football. We had this month of training called ‘camp fun,’ and that was probably the most tormenting moment in sports I’ve ever had to go through.
    “After that football season, I moved to Wisconsin. I missed a little bit of school. It took me awhile to get back into school, but when I did I started making friends.
    “After Wisconsin, we moved to Murphy, where I started my sophomore year. I played football but didn’t like it very much. After my sophomore year, I didn’t play anymore. I found track and field at the end of my sophomore year. Track is one of my favorite sports; I like how it’s mostly individual. You can only blame yourself for what the outcome is in the end.
    “My junior year I played soccer. It was a fun experience to try but still wasn’t for me. I tried cross country and indoor track my junior year. I will continue to run this year, with my ultimate goal being to run for a college of my choice next fall.
    “I really like Murphy because there are so many nice people here, and it is such a beautiful area to live in. Here in Murphy, the people are really nice. It’s a small town. Everyone really knows everyone and tries to help you out when you first get here.
    “I’ve enjoyed having my high school career, with the majority of it being in Murphy. I’ve made plenty of friends here that I am sure I will keep in touch with after I go off to college. The friendships will last a lifetime. I think that I will be able to keep in touch with a lot of my athletic friends as well. Based on the competition we give each other, and the fact that we push each other to the limit of what we think we can do.
    “I think that being part of a team really does help bond people together. We give each other competition, and we push each other to the limit of what we think we can do.  It makes for a more charismatic high school experience.
    “The most interesting thing that has ever happened to me is probably being a part of the state championship track meet for the past two years. I really enjoyed going because it was a lot of fun. There are so many good competitors there that it kind of humbles you to know that there are always people out there that are better than you, and you can still work hard to achieve your goals and surpass even theirs if you try hard enough.
    “I would like to be a coach after I graduate from college, which is why I’m trying to go to a school that offers a sports management program as a major.
    “I want people to know me as a kind person who tried my best to take care of the people I care about. I want to be known for being strong-willed but also protective of the people around me.
    “I really love my family. I have a mom and dad, named Angela and Dustin. I also have a sister named Teagan, who is running cross country and track. She is going to be the manager this year for the indoor track team. My girlfriend’s name is Peyton Wood, and she’s a very sweet lady who takes care of me and makes me good sandwiches at Subway.
    “If I had to pick one person whose shaped me into the person I am today, it would be my dad, mostly because he hasn’t really raised me to be a child. Through my entire life, I don’t believe I have had a childhood experience that most people consider to be ‘normal.’
    “My dad always says that he was raising me to be a man, not a boy, which is something that I have taken to heart. I understand that he is raising me to be a productive member of society.
    “I think I’ve made my mark on the people around me by inspiring them to do the right thing even in times that are difficult. If you’re going through a tough time, you have to remember that other people are having a rough time as well.
    “You have to put everything in perspective, and try to be objective in your view of what you feel is so bad in your life,” Murray said.
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