Class of 2021 Who’s Who Honorees
May 28, 2021
As the 2020-2021 school year is coming to an end, the Bowie community begins to recognize and award students who have made Bowie a better place. Who’s Who is an annual award presented to seniors to honor their involvement and contribution to the Bowie campus.
The nominees of the award are recommended by staff members, then are voted upon by a committee to end on a total of 24 senior honorees each year. Who’s Who honorees have their portrait hung in the library, as well as receive a plaque.
“There’s nothing like being recognized as a Who’s Who at Bowie,” Who’s Who Committee Chair Carlen Floyd said. “It’s the only award that begins and ends with faculty, from nominations to voting on the final 24. This honor is bestowed on students who the faculty considers to be the best face of Bowie. They improve the culture of Bowie itself, but extend their skills, talents, and service beyond Bowie to South Austin, the greater Austin area, the state of Texas, and in some instances, the entire nation. We are so proud to claim these as “our kids.””
In place of the customary in-person ceremony to honor the Who’s Who recipients, the Who’s Who Committee hosted an online meeting on Zoom to announce their designation of the award. In order to surprise the students, School Improvement Facilitator Ruth Ann Widner sent an email asking the honorees to attend a Zoom meeting to discuss the upcoming graduation with Principal Mark Robinson.
“What better way to inform the honorees this year than through Zoom,” Floyd said. “During COVID-19, that’s been our way of life, so the Who’s Who Committee decided it was our best way to reach all the honorees.”
The honorees were asked to film a short video of themselves, mentioning their interests, contributions, favorite memory from high school, plans for the future, and thank yous. To watch the video, click here.
“My advice is this: While what you choose to study may be important, what you choose to do is far more important,” Floyd said. “Consider the problems you see in the world, discern what your skills and passions are, and then consider how those skills and passions will assist you in helping to solve those problems. Be kind, be thoughtful, and use your powers for good.”
Who’s Who Honoree Tiffany Ard was a member of the National Honors Society (NHS) and Spanish Honors Society, the Photography Editor for the Lone Star Yearbook, a Silver Stars Dancer, and co-President of Photography Club. Additionally, Ard was a member of the Peer Assistance Leadership and Service (PALS) program, Bowie Buddies, and the Bowie Mentor program.
“Coming from a small private school to Bowie as a freshman and knowing nobody was extremely difficult for me so I am just proud of how far I’ve come and it makes me so happy that I was able to actually make an impact on such a big community, especially one of which I used to feel invisible in,” Ard said.
After graduation, Ard will double major in Computer Science and Visual Arts at North Carolina State University in the College of Engineering.
“There are so many teachers that I have to thank, but some of my top ones would have to be Mrs. Flick who was like a second mom to me even though I only had her for one year,” Ard said. “She changed my entire outlook on school in calculus class. Mr. Garcia watched me grow from an anxious sophomore in AP World History to a Bowie PAL who knew how to be confident and spread positivity to those around her, and my yearbook teacher Ms. Shirack who introduced me to photography which is now one of my biggest passions in life.”
Who’s Who Honoree Mariah Barsotti was a Captain on the color guard team, an editor on the yearbook staff, and a member of NHS.
“I feel so truly honored to be Who’s Who Honoree,” Barsotti said. “I remember in freshman year when seniors I looked up to received the award, and I thought they were so amazing. Now to be in the position they were, I know it’s a great privilege and responsibility.”
Barsotti is planning to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study International Business in the McCombs School of Business and double major within the business college or minor in Statistics.
“After being a fairly involved person, it’s great to come to the realization that your effort has actually contributed to something larger in a way,” Barsotti said. “A lot of the time I was so focused at the task at hand that it was difficult to step back and see how and if I was contributing to a more positive school. To be recognized by such a fantastic group of teachers that I’ve learned an incredible amount from over the last four years gave me some perspective and allowed me to truly appreciate my experiences over the last few years.”
Who’s Who Honoree Nathanio Bright was a member of NHS, and held team captain roles in both football and baseball.
“I feel very honored to be a recipient of Who’s Who,” Bright said. “I’m so grateful to have teachers vote for me and choose me as a representative for Who’s Who.”
After graduation, Bright will attend Claremont McKenna College to play football and major in Economics.
“I’d like to give a big thank you to Mrs. Flick, as she not only helped me in so many ways in her class, but taught me so many things that help me and my life everyday,” Bright said. “I’d also like to thank all my coaches for always being mentors and helping me along the way.”
Who’s Who Honoree Jack Bueide was a member of the band as a drum major.
“It feels good to know that I’ve changed anything for the better in the school,” Bueide said.
Bueide plans to attend Belmont University to major in Music Business starting during the 2021-2022 school year.
“I would like to thank all of my friends and the band directors,” Bueide said.
Who’s Who Honoree Jaden Davis was a historian in the Starlight Theatre Company, an officer on the Speech and Debate team, played volleyball and golf, and was a two-year member of PALS.
“[Being a Who’s Who Honoree] is not only extremely validating, but it finally let me understand that what I was doing was actually benefiting others,” Davis said. “It was a pretty hard concept to grasp while constantly competing and working and I genuinely had no clue that teachers actually considered me a positive presence. While this might just be one award, I can feel confident moving into the future that what I’m doing is working, and I should keep moving forward.”
Davis is looking to major in Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston, and will simultaneously work on a product line to “to help golfers with the integrity of their grooves.”
“First, I’d like to thank my theatre directors,” Davis said. “I genuinely would not have made it this far had they not made me constantly improve myself. Secondly, I’d like to thank my PALS teacher, Mr. Garcia. I used to wish I had someone like a PAL to talk to when I was a kid, and Mr. G gave me that opportunity to do just that. I met a kid that was almost exactly like me, and being able to help him and make him smile was a life changing experience for me. Finally, all the other faculty and staff, especially the custodians. Even on a bad day, seeing the custodians working so hard to make our learning environment just a bit more clean brought a smile to my face. Their positive attitude and genuinely kind nature shines throughout Bowie.”
Who’s Who Honoree Zachary Eilers was a co-Vice President of NHS, Captain of the Bowie swim team, a member of PALS and Spanish Honors Society, and the founder of Bowie Coder Club.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” Eilers said. “It feels good to be recognized for putting in hard work. I hope that the impact I made at Bowie, especially in the Coder Club, is lasting.”
Eilers will be a Computer Science major at Texas A&M University in the fall.
“One of my favorite high school memories is definitely dropping a ton of time at the Swimming District Championships in my sophomore year,” Eilers said. “I worked really hard that season, and it paid off. It’s an incredible feeling to see substantial progress as a result of one’s effort.”
Who’s Who Honoree Ainsley Eis was a co-Treasurer of NHS, Vice President of Student Council her junior year, co-President of Student Council her senior year, nominated to PALS, Campus Advisory Council (CAC) representative, and member of the PSATeam. Eis was also involved in track and field, cross country, and was manager of the track team in 2019.
“Joining track my freshman year was so much fun,” Eis said. “It was a great way for me to meet my friend group and build a relationship with my peers who I may not have shared any classes with. It was fun going to all day track meets and getting to watch, support, and cheer everybody on. I loved watching the varsity 4×400 relay and seeing the incredibly talented athletes run in such a highly competitive race.”
In the fall, Eis will attend Trinity University with the intention of studying and majoring in Biology. In her sophomore year, Eis received the Duke TIP Scholar award from Duke University for a product she created on “helping patients recover from wisdom teeth removal surgery with reduced discomfort and a decreased risk of infection.”
“I would love to thank all of my teachers for having made such a lasting impact on my life and helping me to find the things I was passionate about,” Eis said.
Who’s Who Honoree Blake Guerra participated in football, track and field, PALS, the Starlight Theatre Company, Spanish club, and was co-President of Student Council.
“It is an incredible honor to be selected as an honoree,” Guerra said. “I can remember looking up to last year’s honorees and having them as role models. It is so nice to have made a difference at such a wonderful place, and I truly hope that my time at Bowie has improved the lives of my peers.”
Guerra will attend Texas A&M University in the fall with an undeclared major.
“I’d like to thank all of my teachers, Mr. Garcia, every single football coach that I had, and my friends,” Guerra said. “I would just like to say once again how honored I am, and I hope my time at Bowie has improved the lives of those around me.”
Who’s Who Honoree Wyatt Hood was involved in the Starlight Theatre Company as a technician for three years, and is a Senior Technical Director.
“It’s flattering to know that some of my teachers like me enough to nominate me for the award,” Hood said. “I appreciate the recognition for my work and stuff, but I’m more happy to know that what I’m doing is making a difference.”
Hood is planning to attend the University of North Texas in the fall, and will major in theatre with a concentration in Tech and Design.
“I’d like to thank Ms. Cayer and the theater directors, both for being incredible teachers,” Hood said. “I’d like to thank my best friends, Audrey and Laine Smith, and Trennedy Gugenheim.”
Who’s Who Honoree Alex Johnson’s response is pending.
Who’s Who Honoree Ryan Kinney has been an editor for the Lone Star yearbook for three years and an Editor-in-Chief two years. Additionally, Kinney played volleyball, was a Vice President of Student Council, and a member of NHS.
“I almost didn’t apply for the Who’s Who award, because I felt like I didn’t have a very good chance of winning and it was an honor just to be nominated,” Kinney said. “The day the application was due, the advisor of the yearbook reached out to me and encouraged me to finish my application, so I submitted it 30 minutes before the deadline. I was extremely surprised and honored to be chosen, and I nearly cried when Ms. Floyd gave us her speech about making a mark on Bowie. Having lost my senior year and feeling what so many other seniors are, knowing that I made an impact on the community was extremely special to me.”
Kinney will attend the University of Texas at Austin next year to major in Psychology.
“There are so many favorite memories, but I would have to say one of my favorite memories from high school was the last day of sophomore year when everyone was so excited for summer to start and you could just feel everyone’s excitement,” Kinney said.
Who’s Who Honoree Madeline Kitchen was a two-year member of PALS, Ms. Libby’s Mentoring Program, NHS, and Key Club. Kitchen also participated in band as Pit Captain and Band President.
“I feel tremendously honored to be a Who’s Who Honoree,” Kitchen said. “I am so grateful to know that I have made an impact in many programs at Bowie and that I have been able to help foster a more unified culture at Bowie. It means a lot that so many teachers recognized that impact! It brings me a lot of peace to close this chapter of my life knowing I made a difference, and I look forward to seeing how future leaders continue to build on the foundations that my classmates and I created.”
Kitchen is planning to attend Brigham Young University to study Psychology with a teachers certificate or Elementary Education.
“One of my favorite high school memories is spending time at elementary schools with my Palees junior year through the PALS Program,” Kitchen said. “They made a huge impact on my life, and the time I spent there are some of the most rewarding things I have done with Bowie.”
Who’s Who Honoree Faith Lawrence was an Editor-in-Chief of The Dispatch newspaper, member of the Principal Panel, a technician for the Starlight Theatre Company, and a member of NHS.
“I am incredibly grateful to be a Who’s Who Honoree,” Lawrence said. “I did not expect to actually become a recipient of the award, but I am honored to be recognized by the teachers and staff. I am glad that the staff at Bowie thought highly enough of me to nominate me for the award, and that they recognized the work that I have done around campus.”
After graduation, Lawrence will be attending the University of Oregon to study Education and Journalism.
“I’m so grateful to all of my teachers for encouraging and supporting me these past four years,” Lawrence said. “All of the amazing teachers I have had at Bowie have influenced my aspirations to become a teacher myself after I graduate from college. Thank you to Mrs. Wiedmeyer, Mrs. Stiles, and Mr. Reeves specifically; the three of you helped me realize what I want to do in the future because of your teaching and classes.”
Who’s Who Honoree Arianna Lax was a captain of the Bowie swim team, a member of NHS and Spanish Honors Society, a Bowie Mentor, and a four-year Trustees Award recipient.
“To simply put it, [I feel] honored,” Lax said. “Coming into Bowie and over the first few years I found out about Who’s Who and I knew it would be a huge honor to receive. When I think back to freshman and sophomore year, the upperclassmen that were so inviting and welcoming in my classes were Who’s Who recipients. They set an example and molded the idea of who I wanted to be. I am so grateful to have had Who’s Who recipients in my classes every year, they have greatly influenced who I have become. To think that I may have had that impact on other people’s lives here at Bowie is something I’m grateful for. Seeing the people that have been recognized and being a part of that is such an honor. Each and every one of them are outstanding students and people.”
Lax will attend the University of Texas at Austin as a Pre-Med student in Biology.
“[My favorite high school memory was] regional 200 medley relay with Caroline, Brooke, and Norah,” Lax said. “We won regionals and set a pool record, making state. At state we got fourth which is the highest place in school history.”
Who’s Who Honoree Bradley Mixon was a member of NHS, a National Merit Scholar, the treasurer of the International Robotics Honors Society, and was the program manager of the Bowie BotDawgs Robotics Team.
“[My favorite high school memory was] meeting lifelong friends and watching the campus grow and evolve,” Mixon said.
Next year, Mixon will attend the University of Texas at Dallas to major in Computer Science.
“I’d like to thank each and every single teacher I’ve had for pushing me to be passionate about learning,” Mixon said.
Who’s Who Honoree Brandon Peterson was on the soccer team, the captain for boys soccer his senior year, and a member of PALS and NHS. Peterson began his own mentorship program at Kiker Elementary School to work with special needs children twice a week.
“So for me, being honored as a Who’s Who is cool, like bluntly, but the real honor is knowing that my fellow students, teachers, and all the mentors that have helped me through the years see me as someone who is willing of being recognized at this school,” Peterson said. “That thought that I have made an impact worthy of my memory being posted on the wall of our library is amazing to me, and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Peterson will attend the University of Utah on a full ride scholarship to study Environmental Engineering as well as pursuing minors in both Physics and Education.
“You know, I think with [the Who’s Who recognition], I can leave Bowie with a smile on my face,” Peterson said. “It’ll be hard to say goodbye to my home of the last four years, and to say goodbye to my actual home this summer, but as long as I follow the path that so many have helped me pave, I think I’ll be alright. Later Bowie.”
Who’s Who Honoree Haley Pousson is a four-year member and Vice President of the Starlight Theatre Company, as well as a two-year member of Bowie’s Speech and Debate team.
“It feels pretty great to know that you’ve made a huge impact at your school, and especially on the teachers you’ve had not only in your senior year, but all four years,” Pousson said.
After graduation, Pousson will attend Texas State University to major in Psychology.
“I’d like to thank Mr. Humphrey for being the teacher that has really impacted my four years here at Bowie,” Pousson said.
Who’s Who Honoree Alyssa Shumaker participated in Speech and Debate, the Starlight Theatre Company, was a Head of the Technical Education and Development (TED) club, and a member of NHS. Shumaker was a recipient of the Academic All American award for her work in Speech and Debate.
“I’m really honored to be in Who’s Who,” Shumaker said. “So many past seniors in theatre and speech also received this award and I was always happy to see their photos in the library and be reminded of how much I looked up to them while they were at Bowie. They were all so helpful and kind to me when I was just starting out. I hope some people will feel the same about me in the next few years.”
Next year, Shumaker will attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to start on a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Stage Management.
“I would like to thank my friends for keeping me sane especially during junior year when I was constantly busy with theatre, speech, and working,” Shumaker said. “I also am so appreciative of the prior speech and theatre leadership who I looked up to so much and who inspired me to have fun and work hard while at Bowie.”
Who’s Who Honoree Connor Snow was a director and officer for the Starlight Theatre Company, a captain of the Speech and Debate team, President of the Comedy Club, and a member of NHS.
“I’m still honestly in shock about being named an honoree, but I’m glad to know I have had a positive impact on many of my teachers and the school as a whole,” Snow said.
Snow will attend Sam Houston University in the fall, and will major in a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting.
“I would like to thank my parents first and foremost for allowing me to pursue all the things I was able to do at Bowie,” Snow said. “Secondly, I’d like to thank some of the academic teachers. Mrs. Stiles for being able to teach math in such an amazing way to where I am able to understand it, as well as helping me get through geometry.”
Who’s Who Honoree Cade Spencer was an Editor-in-Chief of The Dispatch newspaper, member of Spanish Honors Society and NHS, an athlete on the Swim and Dive Team, member of the Principal Panel, founder of UNICEF club, and a New Student Mentor.
“Ever since I was a freshman, I have wanted to be a Who’s Who Honoree, and thus, I am beyond excited and grateful to be one today,” Spencer said. “Bowie is truly a special school that I have come to love, and I am very proud that I was able to leave an impact on the campus through character, leadership, and compassion.”
During the 2021-2022 school year, Spencer will attend Georgetown University to study Government and English Literature on the pre-law track.
“As a whole, I want to thank the entire Bowie community- students, teachers, staff, and administrators- for fostering a motivating and engaging learning environment,” Spencer said. “Specifically, I will be forever grateful for all of the incredible teachers I have had the honor of learning under in my time at Bowie, and the constant support and encouragement they showed me. I am extremely grateful for the years I have spent growing under my journalism advisor, Michael Reeves, who has played a crucial role in the development of the journalist, individual, and leader I am today. Bowie has truly made me feel prepared and ready for my future.”
Nick Van Lente
Who’s Who Honoree Nick Van Lente was a Captain for the Speech and Debate Team, Vice President for the Young Latino Leaders, a member of NHS and PALS, as well as an athlete on the tennis team.
“I’m so proud to represent the Bowie community as a Who’s Who Honoree,” Van Lente said. “I’m glad that I was able to impact enough peers and teachers to be recognized, and I hope my legacy at Bowie can be inspiring for the people who identify with me.”
Van Lente will attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in International Relations and Plan II.
“I’d love to thank my amazing teachers whom I have too many to name — without them I wouldn’t have the same level of intellectual curiosity and passion that I do now,” Van Lente said.
Who’s Who Honoree Christian Walker was a member of the Principal Panel and the track team.
“[Being a Who’s Who Honoree] feels great,” Walker said. “I love any sort of award because it’s not only a resume builder, but it also solidifies that you made an impact on your school. One so significant that they gave you and a select few this award out of like 678 students.”
After graduation, Walker will attend the University of Texas at San Antonio to major in Engineering.
“I could be here all night thanking each teacher individually,” Walker said. “I can say with confidence that each one either grew my love for a certain course, made me discover a love for a certain course, or grew my confidence in a certain course so I would like to thank each and every one of them. I would like to thank my parents because they are my support system through everything and ex-Olympian Donovan Powell for training me through high school to be an amazing athlete.”
Who’s Who Honoree Wes Wasserburger was involved on the Bowie swim team for four years, and was a member of NHS as well as Spanish Honors Society.
“It is a large honor,” Wasserburger said. “I am proud that I have been able to leave my mark on the school and it is super awesome that we can watch over the school the next few years with our portraits.”
In the fall, Wesserburger will attend Trinity University doubling in Business Analytics and Mathematics.
“To my teachers and coaches who have supported me throughout these four years and helped me develop as a student, athlete, and person, thank y’all so much for what you do,” Wasserburger said. “I’d of course also like to thank my family, who raised me right, and friends who were good influences.”
Who’s Who Honoree Kellen Watts is a Co-President of NHS, a four-year recipient of the Trustee’s Award, a Head of TED club, as well as a member of the Starlight Theatre Company, Spanish Honors Society, PALS, and Key Club.
“I feel very proud to be a Who’s Who Honoree,” Watts said. “Even more though, I feel honored to have had the opportunity to participate in all of the extracurriculars and activities that I was a part of. That opportunity feels like the real award to me. Even so, it feels very good to know that my efforts and work have been recognized and I am very appreciative of the teachers who have helped me get this award and helped me get involved during my time at Bowie.”
Watts will attend Texas A&M University to study Engineering starting in the fall of 2021.
“My first week of high school started with a solar eclipse and ended with a hurricane,” Watts said. “The next four years were just as weird and jank but I’m very glad I was able to make the best of this time and leave with some good memories.”