Tommy appears to be a quiet, unassuming young man until you get him talking about all the things he is interested in and, obviously, in which he has a knack to succeed. St. Labre has been his school since kindergarten and he is quick to attribute much of his success to the school. “I have had lots of good teachers here. They really want to help you learn,” he says.
Additionally, he talks about specific classes that have helped him onto his current pathway to college. “I enjoy math, art and physics. I think all three have pretty much convinced me that biomechanical engineering is what I would like to major in.”
Turns out that is a large and growing field of endeavor. It runs the gamut from medicine to agriculture and includes creating three dimensional designs, something he has already done. From the designs comes the building of equipment, artificial limbs and body parts in the medical field, and irrigation and technical equipment in agriculture. Tommy had a close-up look at some of the options when he attended a College Horizons seminar at Stanford University last summer for two weeks. “I couldn’t believe everything that is going on in these fields,” he observes.
He had applications pending at Princeton and New York University, where he thought he could find the good programs he is interested in. But his acceptance to Fort Lewis College in Colorado came through early. He has a friend there and he can go tuition-free because of the Native American affiliation of the college. To top it off, the programs he is interested in are available there, too.
Otherwise, in his spare time, Tommy enjoys video games, but not simply from the standpoint of playing them. “I look at the design of them and how they work,” he observes, and goes on to say that he might consider a double major in college: engineering and video game design. “I’d make a lot more money with video games,” he says with a laugh.
As he continues the discussion, more information emerges that would convince anyone that Tommy is a true scholar. He has taught himself computer coding and he is also taking an on-line class in the Japanese language. And if that isn’t enough, he has taught himself to be a radio announcer, or “disc jockey” as he calls it. Add to that
a growing interest in artificial intelligence.
Tommy also loves football and wherever he goes to college, he would like to make the team. “I played for St. Labre, and it was a really great experience. I played center.” He didn’t share his statistics but he looks to be about 6’ 3’ and weighing in at least 250 pounds. Not a guy you would want to face across the line of scrimmage.
Finally, Tommy pays tribute to his mother for his many and varied accomplishments. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without her,” he reflects. “She always told me that no matter how hard something is, keep going. She has pushed me to do my best all through school.”
As For his own philosophy of life, it echoes his mother’s: “Never give up.” The odds look very good that Tommy won’t give up on anything he sets his mind to, that in fact, he will live up to his potential as the St. Labre Class of 2016 Valedictorian.