He’s not your typical valedictorian: South Tahoe’s Hans Mayer is bound for Brown University | TahoeDailyTribune.com

He’s not your typical valedictorian: South Tahoe’s Hans Mayer is bound for Brown University

William Ferchland
Hans Mayer is South Tahoe High School's 2006 valedictorian. / Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Hans Mayer is not your typical valedictorian.

He admits he doesn’t study often. He has no political views. He consumes milk and chocolate for brain food. He wakeboards and likes off-roading.

But Mayer, 17, has a 4.67 grade-point average at South Tahoe High School. The lowest mark he received in a class was an A-minus in architectural design (Mayer admits his drawing skills are lacking) and he has taken eight Advanced Placement courses.

Next year he will attend the private and uber-selective Brown University in Rhode Island. He had contemplated attending the University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, Berkeley.

“It’s a combination of a great scholastic environment up here, wonderful teachers and his desire to absorb everything that was presented to him,” said his father, Rolf Hermann “Ralph” Mayer. “In other words, he sucked it up.”

Brawn goes with Hans’ brains. For four years he was a member of the varsity tennis team, which he co-captained his senior year. He also anchored the varsity swim team, which qualified for state two years in a row.

Friend Mark Dalmacio said Hans regularly attended football and basketball games, hangs out with different groups of friends and excels in athletics.

“He’s more of the peoples’ valedictorian,” Dalmacio said.

Asked what he eats when studying, Hans paused, and replied milk and chocolate, the latter preferably in bar form. His father wasn’t surprised.

“It’s both long-term and short-term energy,” the elder Mayer, a retired Southern California prosecutor, said. “The milk is a long-term energy. The chocolate is a quick energy fix. I can’t think of a better combination. By the way it’s nonfat milk that he drinks.”

A special bond exists between this father and son pair. Hans said he looks up to his father, and vice-versa.

“He is a really smart guy and he was able to accomplish pretty much everything he wanted to do and he worked hard and is able to live pretty comfortably because of that,” Hans said.

Rolf Mayer, 72, credits his son for getting him on a wakeboard and snowboard once the family moved to Tahoe before Hans’ freshman year. For the record, Hans attended the Mirman School for Academically Gifted Children.

“I don’t even like hot-buttered rums but I’m a snowboarder now and it’s all because he pushed me,” the father said.

“You don’t screw around with a kid named Hans,” he added.

Although Hans has a grade-point average that would put some to shame, friend Clayton Cole said Hans had his sights set on being valedictorian.

“I think it didn’t just happen. I think he wanted to be valedictorian and tried to do it,” Cole said. “It wasn’t an accident.”

Counselor Aaron Barnett described Hans as “one of the best” students he’s encountered.

Hans plans to study engineering at Brown and use it for entry into the law or medical field. The secret of life, in his opinion, is worrying less and having fun. For the summer, he plans to live that credo by wakeboarding before buckling down for his freshman year at the Ivy League school.

Does that mean he will study?

“I’ll find some way around that,” he said.

South Tahoe High School graduation is today at 4 p.m. today on the football field

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