STEPHENS CITY — Tyler Hazelwood, 17, has a shy demeanor, but he found his voice — and his calling — during his four years at Sherando High School.

When he first came to Sherando, Tyler wanted to study business. But then a pastor came to his church who got him thinking about becoming a minister.

“At first I was like, ‘Whoa, I’m not so sure about this,’ but then it just kind of grew on me,” said Tyler, who graduates this morning from Sherando.

After he decided he wanted to be a pastor about a year ago, his peers at Sherando started calling him “The Rev” and his teachers made him a T-shirt for FFA that said “Tyler Hazelwood ‘The Rev’” on the front with “Putting Jesus back in the FFA” on the back.

Tyler said he always had an interest in Pakistan, and when the pastor spoke at Tyler’s church he mentioned he had spoken at the largest mosque in the country.

“Since then I feel like something is about to change in Pakistan,” he said. “Right now, it’s not a very good atmosphere, but it seems like that’s changing.”

Tyler has been in charge of his church youth group’s outreach to Pakistan by raising money to send to ministers there.

“The goal is always to convert people,” Tyler said. “If we can bring peace as a whole to them that would be a good thing.”

Tyler will attend Lord Fairfax Community College in the fall and then plans to transfer to Liberty University.

Sherando Principal John Nelson said Tyler is a well-rounded student who is very involved in community service and serves as a role model to others in the school.

“He’s an outstanding young man of high character and integrity,” Nelson said.

Nelson added that though Tyler has always been a fairly shy student, he has become more outgoing and more of a self-starter throughout his time at Sherando.

Like most high school students, Tyler said he struggled at first to fit in.

Joining FFA made him feel like he belonged.

“I think that Sherando does a really nice job finding a way for every kind of person to fit in,” Tyler said.

Tyler has served as a parliamentarian and as chaplain for the FFA. FFA taught him a lot about leadership and public speaking, he added.

“I was scared to speak in public,” Tyler said when he first started attending Sherando.

After speaking at his church several times, Tyler said, he’s had people reach out to him afterward thanking him for what he said and that they needed to hear it.

“That means a whole lot to me to know that I am able to speak life into someone,” Tyler said.

One Bible passage — John 3:30 — resonates deeply with Tyler: “I must decrease so that he may increase.”

“Even though all these great things are happening, and I’m able to speak in front of hundreds of people. It’s not about me. It’s about a greater cause,” Tyler said. “I’m giving God’s message, it’s not me.”

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com

(16) comments

jc9478

I would just like to wish this young man a good future.

Spock Here

Congratulations young man; I sincerely hope, if this is your calling, that you carry it out with dignity, grace, and caring. We don't need another holier than thou angry person telling everyone he deems "not Christian" to "repent" Good luck to you

CRT

The goal is to convert people? How would he and others like him feel if Muslims came to his school with the goal of trying to convert people?

ShruggingAtlas

Learn to read: "Tyler has been in charge of his church youth group’s outreach to Pakistan by raising money to send to ministers there. “The goal is always to convert people,†Tyler said. “If we can bring peace as a whole to them that would be a good thing.†" See anything where he mentions converting people at his school? What, you afraid he's going to help other kids see that there are better things to do in the world than promote sodomy and putting boys in girls bathrooms?

CRT

Okay, I'll type this slowly so that might understand. He's advocating converting people in Pakistan from Islam to Christianity. That's equivalent to Muslims coming to his school (or community in general) to convert Christians to Islam. Atlas, shouldn't you be shaming people for having oral sex or women who choose to have a career rather than be submissive wives and mothers???

ShruggingAtlas

No, it's not and you should be ashamed of yourself for making such a silly comparison. Is his life under direct threat in school like it would be if he were in Pakistan, saving people from a religion that promotes forced conversions, female genital mutilation, enslavement, or death because you're an "apostate"? Hardly, Nice try, but your logic is devoid of substance or reality.

CRT

You are thick, Atlas. I would bet that a Muslim missionary in Frederick County might fear for his safety if he were trying to convert Christians kids to Islam.

ShruggingAtlas

Right, must be why they are coming here, establishing/building mosques, and celebrating Eid at the Dulles Expo this weekend -- because they're being oppressed while spreading their "faith". Keep knocking down those straw men CRT, you have it down to a science.

Spock Here

Dulles Expo is not in Frederick county; it's in a more tolerant area. Shouldn't you be heading out for your sabbathing?

slowe

This may in fact, be a violation of church/state separation. It is well established law and policy that teachers may not lead or promote religious practices in their role as public teachers in a public school. When the teachers make the t-shirt and it's slogan, they were violating that law and the policy. Frederick County School Board should look into this and enforce that law and policy.

ShruggingAtlas

Give it a rest, you tired, miserable man.

CRT

Same could be said to you, you old scold.

ShruggingAtlas

Thank you, CRT! It's an honor to earn your ire because I'm not lying and enabling people in their sin and disordered behavior. I hope that someday you stop trying to please the world at the expense of your soul. Wise up!

Spock Here

Sure hope this kid doesn't turn out like Shrug...…..

Bob8980

This was a very well written article about a very out standing young man, Tyler! His humility and commitment to getting God's word out there is so admirable! It's wonderful to hear about someone who wants to do God's work and spread it throughout the world! May God richly bless him!

gscottanderson

The writer, Anna Merod, has a history of poorly written stories in the Winchester Star. This one certainly is. I read the article twice and could not determine the pastor that influenced the young man or the church the young man attends.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.