Student of the Week: GJHS senior Andy Bowen
After-school activities: Lacrosse, tennis, skiing, snowmobiling, dirt biking, mountain biking, camping, rafting, National Honor Society, tutoring Strive students, playing guitar and violin, filming and editing with my GoPro.
Favorite book: The entire “The DaVinci Code” series by Dan Brown.
Favorite TV shows: “The Walking Dead,” “Hawaii Five-0,” and “Graceland.”
Favorite band or musician: Depending on my mood, it could be anything from Rich Homie Quan or Mötley Crüe to Krewella or Slightly Stoopid.
Parents: Phil and Flor Bowen.
Personal hero and why: My dad. He has instilled in me his spirit of adventure and love of the outdoors, and he introduced me to two activities I now consider my passions: skiing and lacrosse. He is one of the smartest people I know, both practically and academically; if I have any question whatsoever, he can almost always answer it. I admire how he epitomizes the mantra “work hard, play hard.” He understands the value of dedication and determination and, like me, he’s chomping at the bit to indulge in something fun by the time the weekend comes around.
Preferred college: Stanford University.
Preferred career: Medicine.
Greatest achievement so far: Academically, being chosen as a National Merit Semifinalist. Communally, founding Grand Junction High School’s first-ever Ski Club.
What you’d like to be your next greatest achievement: To finish school, begin practicing, settle down with a lovely wife, and start a family.
Q: What was the most memorable lesson you ever learned in a class?
A: It wasn’t so much a lesson as it was a stark revelation. A couple of weeks ago in Advanced Placement Literature, we were discussing Shakespeare’s sonnet, “That Time of Year,” and we deduced that you love something even more when you recognize that it won’t be around forever. I’m not a poetry kind of guy, but the manner in which my teacher made Shakespeare relevant to my life (imagine that!) was indescribably profound. It happened to be the week of homecoming, and her message to us was that this is our last year here — our last Homecoming dance, our last chance to cheer against Fruita, our last Senior Dance-Off — before we go off to college and assume adult responsibilities, so cherish it for all it’s worth. Just the way she expressed that and tied it in with Shakespeare’s elegance really hit home for me. It feels like these four years have flown by, like I was a freshman only last year, and the prospect of graduation both excites me and saddens me in that respect.
Q: What subject or extracurricular activity are you most passionate about and why?
A: Definitely skiing. There’s this excitement (“stoke,” as it were) that’s difficult to explain to those who aren’t as passionate, but the prospect of spending the day in the clarity of the crisp mountain air and floating over the snow is the only motivation I need to grind through four Advanced Placement classes during the school week. Letting loose and feeding off my friends’ creative energy is probably the best part. Like they say, a bad day on the slopes is better than a good day at the office. Actually, scratch that: There is no such thing as a bad day on the slopes.
Q: Describe a time when you knew you made a difference in the community or someone else’s life.
A: I tutor students in Junction’s Strive program once a week for an hour after school. Last week, one of them approached me for help with his math. After some quick triage, I determined that while he was conceptually sound, he lacked structure in his approach to the problems. I conveyed to him that, in my experience, solving math problems is highly systematic and regimented; having a plan and consistently implementing it is the key to success. I could tell my advice was enlightening just by how receptive and immediately understanding he was. On top of that, when I spoke with him this week, he told me he had raised his grade from an F to a C specifically by applying my advice to ace a test.
Q: What are your goals for after high school?
A: I plan on pursuing a degree in engineering — probably biomedical — and eventually getting my MD. I’ve tossed around the idea of minoring in music or cinematography as well. Wherever I end up going to school, one of my extracurricular goals is to make the club lacrosse team there. Long-term, I’d like to settle back down here in Grand Junction and continue to indulge in all the outdoor activities this area has to offer. Living somewhere else for four to eight years might change my mind, but in the meantime, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: In all honesty, I would love more than anything to be a professional mountain biker and skier. More than occasionally have I fantasized about blindly shredding chest-deep British Columbia powder like Sean Pettit or blasting through a muddy, technical downhill course like Sam Hill. Getting paid to ski all winter, ride all summer, go on unique trips, and use the latest gear would be the most stress-free and exciting job I could think of. I wouldn’t mind being a cinematographer for those sports, either. You still get to go on the trips and ski and ride a bit, plus you get to be limitlessly creative with how you capture and emulate the action and emotions from behind the lens.