National Merit Finalist considering military, UA

Published 2:03 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sim Bowden has joined the ranks of Andalusia High School seniors who have earned the designation of National Merit Finalist.

Bowden, a senior, and son of Ben and Angie Bowden, earned the prestigious nationwide honor.

He earned a 1460 on his SAT and 34 on the ACT, and has an unweighted grade point average of 4.0.

Bowden said he is currently leaning really hard toward the University of Alabama.

“They have a really good program for the National Merit Scholarship Program,” he said. “I have a few other things I need to consider before I’m 100 percent.”

Bowden said he has received a conditional letter of acceptance to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Military service is something Bowden said he’s been thinking of his whole life, and that’s no surprise.

His father is a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve and his grandfather, Lawrence Bowden, is a retired colonel with the Alabama National Guard and was the first commander of the 900th Transportation Company.

“It’s a huge honor,” Bowden said. “I have to finish up some medical evaluations.”

Bowden said his primary reasons for wanting to join the military are because of his father and grandfather and that he’s always been patriotic.

“I’ve always been patriotic,” he said. “I’ve also been interested in war heroes. The reason our country is so great is that people fight for it.”

Bowden also plans to become a lawyer.

“I think I’d love to work in a big business or corporation,” he said. “My dad is a lawyer for the Air Force. That’s also a path that could combine both.”

If he takes the University of Alabama route, he plans also enter the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, while studying economics for his undergraduate degree.

“I took an AP macroeconomics class and it’s something that really interested me,” he said. “It’s new and exciting for me and it’s a really interesting subject. It affects every aspect and it’s a good mix of human behavior and science and math.”

Bowden said he would be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force upon graduation.

“My dad went to law school and then started active duty,” he said. “I hope to follow a similar path.”

He said at the Naval Academy, they really stress science and technology. He said he’d probably enter the JAG Corps in the Navy.

Right now, Bowden said he’s working to evaluate his options correctly and figure out which option will best serve him.

He said he has the full support of his parents.

To prepare for the possibility, he spent a week at the Naval Academy over the summer at a program designed for potential candidates.

And he had a really great visit to the University of Alabama, where he met with a number of deans.

“I grew up in Alabama,” he said. “I’m an Alabama fan. My dad went to Alabama.”

Bowden said growing up he always made good grades, but sports dominated his life.

“My parents pushed me to make good grades,” he said.

Then, his freshman year, he suffered a broken bone that put him out for the season.

“It made me reevaluate life,” he said. “I took what I did in sports and took it to the classroom. I changed the way I handled the classroom.”

He’s been back on the diamond and the gridiron and is currently finishing up his senior season in baseball after his team had a dynamic run in the playoffs in football.

Additionally, Bowden is a city ambassador and a member of the First United Methodist Church youth group.

Bowden gave much credit to the teachers and administration at Andalusia City Schools.

“I’m thankful for Doc (AHS Principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare) and all the good teachers I’ve had,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with the environment to succeed.”