Athlete, scholar is a well-rounded All-Star

An athlete, scholar and all around good kid, that’s how folks who know this week’s Valley Sun All-Star describe the 15-year-old La Cañada High School sophomore.

Erick Lankey was nominated to be an All-Star by family friend, Anne Tryba of La Cañada.

“Erick is a terrific kid,” Tryba said. “He’s talented, smart and a really nice kid.”

He is the son of Jeff and Becky Lankey of La Cañada. He has a younger sister, Kara, 13, and a 4-year-old cat named Buttons.

Erick played baseball with La Cañada Junior Baseball for nine years and also has been involved in AYSO soccer through much of his childhood. He’s also a runner and ran track and cross country at the high school.

His mom describes Erick as a “sports fanatic with a great memory for statistics.”

He’s also compassionate and interested in helping others, she added.

While in the eighth grade, he spearheaded a project at his school to raise money for Heifer International, a non-profit organization that works to end world hunger by providing cows and goats to underdeveloped countries to encourage self-reliance and sustainability.

Lankey also enjoys hiking, riding his bicycle and hanging out with friends. He recently visited the University of California’s Santa Barbara and Los Angeles campuses and is hoping to attend one of the two schools after he graduates from LCHS. He’d like to become an accountant like his parents both are, he said.

In addition to training five days a week for upcoming sports activities at the high school, Lankey has volunteered much of his time this summer as a counselor in training at Tom Sawyer Camp. He became involved as a camper at the camp about 10 years ago and moved on to a staff position this year.

“I enjoy working with kids here; it’s a lot of fun,” he said during a Friday afternoon interview, as he was surrounded by a throng of small children at Hahamongna Park.

Lankey smiled and laughed with the youths as they played in a small stream of water, the 15-year-old apparently as enthused as his 5-year-old charges as they splashed water over each other and exchanged handfuls of mud.

Lankey’s love of children and enthusiasm for camp activities is evident, said Joanna Mariani, assistant director of pre-camp at Tom Sawyer Camp.

“Kids love him. He leads games and loves to sing and have fun with the kids,” Mariani said. “Erick really looks happy when he’s with the kids, he’s always got a smile on his face. You can tell he’s having fun and so are the kids.”

Grace Lee, 28, a teacher with Los Angeles Unified and a senior counselor at Tom Sawyer Camp, also sings the praises of Lankey.

“You just have to watch Erick interact with the kids,” Lee said. “He’s awesome. He’s an amazing junior counselor. I’ve enjoyed watching Erick grow. He’s an emerging leader and an all- star.”

IF YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE an exceptional young person who lives in La Cañada or is a student here to be a Valley Sun All-Star, e-mail us at

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