LAYTON -- The principal at Layton High School has picked up a unique nickname.
As Principal Ryck Astle walks down the school halls, visiting and joking with students, they affectionately refer to him as 'Papa Ryck.'
The nickname actually started with his sons, one of whom graduated from the school last year. The other son is now a senior.
According to his 18-year-old graduate Ken Astle, the name began more than a year ago. Ken said he was hanging out with a bunch of school friends, when he jokingly referred to his dad as Papa Ryck. The name just happened to stick, Ken said.
As Ken's friends started using their principal's new nickname in public, it spread like wildfire through the student body.
Ken says the name is fitting because of the way his dad treats the students.
"They are more comfortable around him now and feel like they can joke around him," Ken said. "He can discipline, yet it is fun-loving at the same time."
Papa Ryck is the type of guy who will show up at various high school sport's games, cheering just as loudly as the kids, Ken said.
"We've always been a competitive family, and we like to watch ballgames together," Ken said.
Ryck said didn't originally set out to become a principal. After getting his bachelor's degree in business, he said he started looking at job opportunities in big cities across the nation. However, he ultimately decided he didn't want to make such a big move, he said, so began teaching business at Sunset Junior High and coaching football at Clearfield High School.
Three years into his teaching stint, his principal told him he ought to consider looking into administration, thinking Ryck would make good principal material.
Ryck said he decided to give it a go. After getting a master's in business information and receiving an administration certificate, he has served as a principal for the last decade at several schools; Bountiful High, North Junior High, and now Layton High.
"I hadn't ever thought about education because there were a lot of job openings in business. But now, I get to be with the kids, and they are great," said Papa Ryck, admitting he doesn't mind the new nickname. "With a last name like Astle, it could be a lot worse. I know the students do it in fun, so to me, it makes me feel great."
Senior Renee Carver watched their principal's nickname develop last year when she had a class with Ken. The entire class started calling him Papa Ryck, she said.
"Papa Ryck wants to have a relationship with us and make sure we're OK," Carver said. "He encourages us to look out for each other and have each other's backs, which gives us more of a sense of community and helps us learn from his example."
Several of the students think having a principal with his own kids attending the school has come in handy. According to sophomore Rhett Ray, "He's not a demanding or yelling principal, probably because he has kids here, and understands where kids are coming from."