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Local Teen “Writing His Ticket” To An Exciting Life Including A Bright Forecast As A National Leader

By Scott Jester, 10/19/21 3:53 PM

“I told him to write his own ticket,” said Adrienne Ware recently when talking about her Hope High School super senior, Richard.

Richard Ware recently spent his summer unlike many others his age. After completing his COVID-ravaged junior year at Hope High School, Ware attended Arkansas Boys State “virtually” where he was elected the 2022 Governor. In late July, he was selected as a senator for the prestigious American Legion Boys Nation held in Washington D.C.

Ware joins a list of distinguished former residents of Hope, who attended school here and later affected public policy and humanity as leaders of our state, country, and the world.

Bill Clinton formed close friendships during the first six years of his life here before his family moved to Hot Springs. He is famously pictured shaking hands with a young President John F. Kennedy when Clinton was a teen himself at Boys Nation. As history reflects, Clinton later became leader of the free world for two Presidential terms.

Hope native Mike Huckabee went from spinning records as a local radio disc jockey to serving as Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007. It was not before serving as Boys State Governor in 1972.

Thomas “Mack” McLarty III was a childhood friend of Clinton’s and, he too, had what it took to serve as Governor of Arkansas Boys State in 1963. McLarty would later serve as the first White House Chief of Staff during Clinton’s first term. He remains a prominent figure in virtually every corner of the globe to this day.

And now Richard Ware is quietly laying the groundwork for a political career that could possibly allow him to open the doors of world-wide successes.

But seriously, what is the “secret” that has made little ol’ Hope Arkansas, a town of less than 10,000, a leader in producing such political figures who became leaders of millions?

Is it the water here in our area? Doubt it. Maybe it’s the watermelons. That’s possible. Maybe it’s even Terry Powell’s world-famous Cracklin’s. They sure make you think you’re doing a good thing for humanity when eating them.

The world may never know.

Meet Richard’s mom, Adrienne, who also serves as replacement dad, friend, counselor, consoler, and all-round life coach.

Richard didn’t become who he is today by accident. He didn’t achieve the things he has accumulated by winning life’s lottery at birth. He was raised primarily by a single mom and a loving grandmother. A mom, who didn’t need to preach to teach the standards and examples for him to learn. She lived them and these standards were the rule, not the exception

Adrienne is a 1994 graduate of Hope High and currently serves as the EAST Facilitator at HHS.

She is the daughter of Alma and Richard Phillips, with Alma serving as a teacher in the Hope School system for 41 years. Her father is a retiree from the Arkansas Army Reserves and Red River Army Depot.

What was Richard like as a child?

“He has always been inquisitive,” said Adrienne. “It’s sort of like he skipped the “why” and went to the “and then what happens” stage. He always wanted to know the consequences.

The family faith had and continues to have a central role in guiding the Wares.

“I want to give a shout out to Rising Star Baptist Church with Brother James E. Lister our Pastor,” Adrienne said with a prideful smile.

“My mother is the church Secretary, church clerk and continues to teach. I was even Richard’s Sunday School teacher,” she beamed. “It was important to me that he was raised in the church, and he had a relationship with God on his own.

“In fact, Richard and I pray every morning.

We’ve done that since he started driving,” she stated gently while agreeing that it was the perfect time in life to begin such daily ritual.

“As he was growing up, I wanted him to be well-rounded,” she states “Education is important, but you wanted to also have that other element too.

“He played football and in ninth grade, he joined the band because he had been playing piano.
The band director said they needed a piano player, so I encouraged him to just try it, so now he loves it.

“And he’s managed to squeeze in golf and baseball too, so he’s very active,” Adrienne says in what could possibly qualify as the understatement of the year. But, that’s not all, folks.

“He’s ranked number nine in his graduating class with a 3.9 GPA,” she continues. “He’s a member of National Honor Society, and Vice President of Student Council. He’s also a concurrent student at UAHT, taking hours and will have his associate degree in December.”

Richard Ware is going places in life. If he were a stock, we should all be buying shares in him. Right now.

“I’ve always had a saying for him,” said Adrienne, and that was “Son, write your own ticket. And that’s what he’s been doing.”

Look up the definition of “extraordinary” when searching for a word to describe Richard Ware. The World Book dictionary defines the adjective as “beyond what is ordinary; beyond the very unusual or remarkable.”

However, it’s his thoughts and their organized delivery that separates him from most others his age, or for that fact, just about any age.

“Growing up in Hope Arkansas, everybody practically knows everybody, but there are so many opportunities here and that I took advantage of growing up,” saying Ware,

“I’m a multi-sport athlete here in high school,” he said. “I’m also involved in band, and it was virtually the same thing growing up (prior to high school). I realize each of those things sort of mesh together and each has connections for my future.”

“I wanted to be something more than myself,” Ware says seriously. Growing up, I wanted to be various things like an inventor, a police officer to now, governor or even President of the United States.”

And readers, do not doubt him. In fact, you may want to one day volunteer to work in one of his campaigns. If you like associating with winners.

“It is a competitive thing,” he admits.

Attending Boys State and Boys Nation can be pretty stressful, especially if running for an office such as Governor. Effective campaigning is essential and the intimidation factor of such places can be very high.

“Since Boys State wasn’t an in-person event this year due to COVID, it was sort of intimidating and I thought campaigning would be disastrous,” Ware admitted.

“Everything was done on the computers and it was going to take hours and such, but the one thing that set me apart from the others in my campaign was I was told I sounded “genuine”. And they liked my voice,” Ware said.

Saying others would enjoy Ware’s voice and the genuine sound of his message is sort of like saying a someone would enjoy a rainbow. There is not an ounce of pretentious in his answers or thoughts.

Ware made his connections and was voted Governor of Boys State. An honor that only fed the flames that were now burning inside Ware. His competitive nature was responding to the next level.

“It’s kind of different campaigning at Boys Nation because it was an in-person event,” Ware expressed. “The process felt harder than virtually. I felt like a small fish in a big, big pond. It was kind of intimidating.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get my party’s nomination but came in second” he says. “Now I talk to my friends from Boys Nation very often. I think I now know about 20 future governors,” he says with a knowing smile.

Ware fully realizes he wouldn’t be where he is today without the love and support of his biggest fan, his mom.

“My mom means the world to me,” as Ware’s soft voice becomes even softer. “It’s really only been my mom and my grandmother as well.

“Every aspiration I have ever wanted, and that Mom could give to me, she gave it to me. My first inventing kit when I wanted to be an inventor, giving me a new camera because I wanted to be a Youtuber, she’s always been there for me. I can’t thank her enough, playing both Mom and Dad.”

Where does faith fit in a complex young man such as Richard? He has the world on a string and every reason to be overly prideful and less of an example of what it’s like to live a humble, Christian life.

“Faith has always been a vital part of my life,” he notes. “On the back of our (football) practice shirt is the word “Family”, and the “F” stands for “Faith”. The same way I have faith in my teammates is the same way I’ve tried to have faith that God will bring me through the next trial or tribulation.

“Mom and I pray for every new day,” he says extraordinarily. “We pray for our safety. This is another day we get to live!”

Where would you like to be in five years?

“Let’s see in five years, I will be 23 and hopefully, I could be the Representative for our District,” he says with a smile.

What about in 10 years?

“I’d be 28 or 29 around then,” quickly doing a critical calculation. “Hopefully, I’d be one of the top considerations for the then next Governor of the state, when I turn 30, of course,” Ware concludes with a smile that will win votes without uttering a single word.

At the beginning of this story, Ware’s mother said he could “write his own ticket”.

If Richard Ware is writing his own ticket, it doesn’t look like his pen is running out of ink anytime soon.