For someone who wasn’t able to read until the age of 10, Maverick Manser sure has a bright future and a solid head on his shoulders.
With 11 siblings, ranging in age from 33 to 12, Maverick is among the youngest. While all of his brothers and sisters have shown remarkable resilience, fortitude, courage, and perseverance in the family’s unconventional story-arc, there is a special connection between Maverick and his older siblings, one in particular.
Maverick’s biological mother lost her way, perhaps after the death of his father in 2017. The family, children in tow, had moved from Arizona to Galesburg to Patoka, and had been homeschooled, primarily by their father, all along the way. Intentions may have been good, but as Maverick puts it, “We were missing a whole range of learning opportunities under this situation.” Putting it mildly, most of us expect to know how to read before we reach the age of 10. It’s just something that most of us take for granted. His well-being was also at stake, as well as those of his youngest siblings. After the death of his father, the wheels just kind of fell off the family wagon, and his mother — the woman he carefully refers to as his biological mother — seemed ill-prepared to make repairs. So, a cadre of older siblings took it upon themselves to ensure that Maverick, as well the youngest among them, received a good education, a safe home, and, by extension, a solid future.
Maverick’s older sister Izzy — the woman he takes special care to refer to as the ‘actual’ mother figure in his life, not only gained custody of Maverick, but also three other siblings. At the age of 19, Izzy — an apparent force of personified determination — not only summoned the courage and conviction to sue for custody in order to take care of her younger siblings, but runs marathons and attends college, pursuing a degree in dental hygiene, as well. But that’s only part of Maverick’s remarkable story.
Maverick notes how much his sister Izzy inspires him, but is also quick to credit his friends, his girlfriend, his track coach, and his literature teacher for providing so much of the ‘lift’ that has enabled him to get a toe-hold on, not just a wonderful future, but a remarkable present.
Maverick is truly inspiring, saying, “If there’s something wrong, I’m mad about it for five minutes. Then, I make my choice for my own day. I get to choose whether I’m happy or not.” He tells us, he “feels like we only get one life, and I wouldn’t want to waste it crying over something.”
The can-do attitude of this impressive young man doesn’t stop there; in the brief time he has spent in formal public schooling, here at Vandalia, he has made impressive strides academically and on both the track and football teams. In fact, he envisions a future that is, perhaps, tethered to athletics. He aspires to getting a college scholarship through his athletic efforts so that he can both play ball and receive an education. He might even like to coach one of these sports someday, maybe even at the college level.
Clearly, any college or university would be incredibly lucky to have him, as you’d have to look far and wide to find a harder worker, or a more inspiring story of grit and determination.
Maverick also enjoys writing, and as we can all see, with the help of others, he is definitely writing his own story. A smile planted firmly on his face during our entire interview and photo session, he just wants to enjoy himself, and to make every deliberate choice he can to be happy. He’s going to invest in himself, including those things that interest him, and he will further enhance his happiness and that of others by spending time with friends and family and, we suspect, investing heavily there as well.
This incredible kid always makes sure to show up, for himself and others, at 100 percent or better. If there’s something he’s going to pursue, he’s going to make sure he does the very best with it he can. Otherwise, he believes, he would simply be selling himself short. And he’s right. Despite his considerable success and accomplishments, he still understands the fundamental importance of loyalty, hard work, and simply being a good person and friend. He remembers when people didn’t admire him as much, until he developed his athletic prowess. But he’s okay with that. At the end of the day, he has already come so far, realizing in his young life that the most important opinion of him is how he regards himself. Not that our opinion matters, but we think he’s a pretty impressive kid with a bright future. And, with his good attitude and a name like Maverick, we’re pretty sure he’ll put a positive dent or two in the Universe!