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One Monticello Life – Ryan Copico- Edited

March 12th, 2012 by

From Leamington, Ontario, Canada all the way to Southeast Arkansas has been quite the journey for Ryan Copico. Ryan’s life began in Canada, where he was born on January 12, 1976. His parents are Ruben and Rowena Copico, originally from the Philippines.

Ryan’s father is a med-tech chemist and received his degree while living in the Philippines. His sister had traveled to Canada and reported back that there were several jobs in his field there and encouraged him to make the trip to begin his career.

Ruben and Rowena were already engaged, so Ruben went to Canada for a year to work, came back to the Philippines to marry her, and then they traveled back to Leamington, Ontario together to begin their lives as a married couple and begin their family.

Growing up, Ryan Copico attended public school in Leamington until the 8th grade and then was home schooled through high school.

“I got my GED when I moved to Arkansas in 2000. Then, I attended UAM for the years 2000-2004 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Middle Level Education.”

Ryan said that coming to America happened through a home schooling program.

“I moved to Chicago for four or five years when working with children’s ministry. That was through our home schooling program. The program was a branch of the ministry.”

Mr. Copico has held numerous jobs and has traveled all over the world for his work.

“As a teen, the most interesting job I held was working with a friend of ours sanitation company cleaning septic tanks, installing septic systems, and cleaning grease traps at local fast food restaurants. I moved to Oak Brook, IL, a suburb of Chicago, to work for a children’s ministry department of a Christian Ministry (Institute in Basic Life Principles [IBLP]) at 18 and traveled to Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, and around the US, including Hawaii and Alaska, holding various positions within the organization from materials coordinator to travel coordinator. I was also their travel team leader, lead story-teller, and office manager.”

“I was part of a curriculum team that developed a Character Education curriculum for public schools. I helped to pilot that program.”

“In college, I worked for Warren, AR Public Schools as the Character Education coordinator and Limited English Proficiency aide. After graduation, I taught 7th grade English, 7th grade careers, and 8th grade Media communications at Monticello Middle School until taking the MMS EAST program facilitator position.”

In 2001, the reigning Miss America Angela Baraquio, a Filipina, came to Warren, Arkansas as a part of the Character Education Program. “She came to our house and taught my sister and another friend how to Hula dance, which was her talent, in our living room.”

When asked if he had tried to hula Ryan said, “I did not; I left that to the girls. I don’t have any rhythm.”

“I am currently the Associate Pastor/Children’s Pastor at Pauline Baptist Church here in Monticello.”

Ryan is married to Rebecca Copico and they have one daughter, Lily Anna, who is 18 months old. They are also expecting their second child this December. Rebecca is a Monticello native and Ryan said, “I read about her in a One Monticello Life article weeks before I ever met her. How we met is somewhat hilarious too!”

Ryan said that Rebecca had just returned to Monticello after interning at Disney World as a tour guide for The Great Movie Ride. He said, “She ended up winning an award… something like the Thunderous Applause award. I really thought that was cool when I read about that.”

“Several mutual friends had tried to set us up, and for some reason they [MLive] did the article. I thought it was pretty interesting. I enjoy stories that are kind of outside of the box, and you don’t see many people that have interned at Disney. It’s so funny; when we met it was a big group thing at the bowling alley. She says I didn’t talk to her the whole night… but I don’t think that’s true. The point of being in this group was for us to meet and I showed up in sweat pants and a tee shirt, so she wasn’t all that impressed with me, I don’t think.”

Apparently, she was plenty impressed with the casually dressed guy she met, because they began dating in February of 2007 and were married in June of 2008.

“We knew… so it was quick.”

Ryan and Rebecca’s daughter Lily Anna is the light of their lives. When asked to describe her Mr. Copico said, “I’m not sure why we have television because we end up just watching her. I’m sure every person says this, but she’s full of personality. She’s funny, and getting to the point where she’s conversational. She is definitely a combination of both of our personalities. “

“Just the other day she picked up some laundry off of my floor in the closet, I didn’t think anything of it. I walked into the laundry room later and asked Rebecca if she had put the laundry in the washing machine, and she said, “no”… so Lilly had taken it and put it in the machine. That is just one of those small things that I thought was so impressive.”

“I love just the simple things with her. I love everyday getting up and having breakfast together.”

Ryan said he doesn’t think Lily has any idea the new baby is coming yet, but he thinks she will have fun being a big sister.

Ryan and Rebecca have played roles in First United Methodist Monticello’s dinner theaters for a couple years in the plays Guys and Dolls, Bloody Mary, and South Pacific.

One memory many 2008 MMS students have of Mr. Copico (their EAST Lab Facilitator) was when he spent the night in a tent on top of the MMS building.  He told the 6th, 7th, & 8th grade students that if they achieved a 75% level in their accelerated reader program, that he would camp out on top of the buiding.  They responded with a 79% score.

One of Ryan’s serious hobbies is running. He credits his wife to getting him started saying, “When my wife and I were dating she was training for a half marathon, which I thought was the craziest thing. I didn’t want to be outdone I guess so I started running with her. Our first run together we planned on two miles and did five. I think we were both just trying to show the other up. Her dad was an avid runner, too. I did my first marathon and got hooked, back in 2008. I ran it in four hours and twenty minutes. That was my fastest time for a long time. I had my best time the first one I ran and my times got worse after that until Dec 2011 when I ran one in Dallas and my time was four hours. I have no idea why my times got worse initially… that was kind of strange.”

Ryan said he runs with his father in law, Mike Akin, and also Brian Hairston, David Cassels, Darren Clemmons, and Don Reynado.

”They push me. We run together 3-4 times a week, about 5 miles each day, and on weekends we do a long run… anywhere from 8 to 20 miles. We start running at 5:30 in the morning.”

MLive asked Mr. Copico about his role at Pauline Baptist Church and what he felt the hardest and the most rewarding parts of being in the ministry are. He said, “I think the hardest thing is wanting so badly to see life change in people, whether kids or adults or whole families, and knowing that really and truly we don’t affect life change. It’s God that has to bring about that life change. Trusting that God is the one that does it I guess can be the hard part when you just wish you could fix it yourself.”

He said the most rewarding part of ministry is, “Relationships. Just being connected to the community, struggling with people, hurting with people, but also rejoicing and celebrating with people. I think that’s the most worthwhile thing to be a part of… just connected with people’s lives.”

When asked what lesson he wishes he could teach everyone he encounters he said, “I just have to quote Coach Vince Lombardi. He said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Just choose excellence in whatever you do. In your personal life, business life, spiritual life… just choose what’s best and what’s going to last. I think we’d all be pretty successful if we did that no matter what we did.”

As for what Ryan Copico sees coming up in the years ahead, he said that he is adventurous and basically up for whatever God lays on his heart. He said he greatly enjoys what he does now with the youth at Pauline Baptist Church and can see being fulfilled with his role there for years to come.

One new thing coming up for Ryan is politics.

“I’m running unopposed for Justice of the Peace. I’m fascinated by the political/government process and I believe that if you want to make a difference in a community, or even complain, you need to be a part of the solution and not the problem. It’s not something I grew up dreaming of doing, but see it as my responsibility to the community to be a part of it. I was approached about it, and the more I thought about it, I sensed an opportunity to be a part of that side of the community.”

Whether serving abroad or right here in Monticello, AR, Ryan Copico has touched many people’s lives and is a much loved member of the community. MLive would like to thank him for all he does to give back to our City.

4 Responses to “One Monticello Life – Ryan Copico- Edited”

  1. Teresa Horn says:

    I am not only proud to say I know this amazing family but also that they are my neighbors!

  2. Jody Gladden says:

    Ryan and his family are Christians and strive always to do God’s will. Ryan was wonderful as a Jr. High teacher at MMS and is a great asset to Pauline Baptist Church. We need more Christians in politics like Ryan.

  3. Penny Rosegrant says:

    Ryan & Rebecca are very special friends whose love for serving the Lord is so apparent. They are a joy to be around. Great article!

  4. ashley says:

    omg yall are crazy

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