hen it comes to involvement in our community and the world, most of us are pretty lax. Not so Brandon. He balances 12-plus hours of marching band a week, fund-raising for children in need, serving on his church youth board and taking four AP classes, while still maintaining a 4.05 GPA.
"I want to get AP classes out of the way so when I'm in college, I can focus on my major," says Brandon, who hopes to become a pilot.
Recently, he participated in the 30 Hour Famine, a program put on by church youth groups across the country to raise money for World Vision, an organization that combats hunger and poverty worldwide. Thousands of students do the famine every year. They go without food for 30 hours to learn what it is like to be hungry and raise money to feed and care for tens of thousands of kids all over the world.
"There's not a whole lot of times you can do something on that scale. It gives people something we take for granted every day," he says.
Brandon is a youth representative on the youth board of Grace Lutheran Church and helps to plan fund-raisers and service events for the group. One of his favorites was called Gaming for Groceries, where he and some others got pledges of money for them to play video games for 24 hours, then used the proceeds to buy groceries and set up a table where families in need could come and pick up a bag of groceries.
Since his freshman year, Brandon has been in the Beyer High School marching band, in which he plays trumpet. The marching band is renowned for its quality and has traveled to 21 states, Canada, England and Ireland in its 35 years of existence.
"If I wasn't in marching band, I don't know where I'd be. It helped me overcome many hurdles," he says.
This year, for the first time, Brandon will be part of the Beyer High Mock Trial team as a pre-trial defense attorney. The Beyer High program is one of the best in the state, and he is excited to be a part of it.
FAMILY: Parents, Gerard and Brenda Stillwagon; brother, Justin, 7
EDUCATION PLANS: Go to college and become a pilot
HOBBIES: Playing trumpet, watching Formula 1 racing, video games
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: My dad, because I want him to respect me, and my mom, because she supports me in anything I do.
LAST BOOK READ FOR PLEASURE: "Fatal Flaws," by Hank Hanegraaff
FAVORITE TV SHOW: "Top Gear"
FAVORITE MUSIC: Classic rock
BIGGEST FEAR: Not being prepared. I hate the "What do I do?" feeling. I like to know what's coming up.
WHAT I'D TELL THE PRESIDENT: Compromise in order to get the consensus you're looking for.
ADVICE FOR KIDS: Enjoy school and have fun. The grades will follow.
ADVICE FOR ADULTS: Don't pressure your kids too much -- encourage them to pressure themselves.
WHERE I'LL BE IN 10 YEARS: Hopefully, either becoming a pilot or something in the aerospace field. Ideally, I'd like to work for NASA.
-- CAROLYN STEVENS, TEENS IN THE NEWSROOM