AUBREY BOWSERSalem High School
SALEM -- "I'm going to major in oceanography," said Aubrey Bowser, very matter-of-factly. Qualifying her statement, she added, "but that could change once I get to college."
Bowser graduates from Salem High School today.
She's applied to two universities, one in California, the other in Hawaii. "To study oceanography, I have to be by the ocean," she explained, "and both of those schools are really nice."
However, as graduation draws nearer, the prospect of going to school so far from home makes her uneasy. "I'm going to miss my mom," she said. "My mom knows me like no one else. She supports me. She holds me together. Everything she does is for me and my sister. My mom's my inspiration."
It's also because of her mom that Bowser is determined to fulfill her dream. Growing up in a single-parent home, Bowser said she's watched her mom struggle, working a variety of part-time jobs to support herself and her two daughters.
"She's always wanted something better for me and my sister," Bowser said.
She chose to study oceanography because she's always loved visiting the beach. "I'm a big dreamer. Whenever I make pictures in my head I'm somewhere else far from here," she said. "My favorite picture is studying the ocean, having a little house on the beach and a family." In that dream, Bowser can "definitely see my mom coming on a lot of vacations to visit me."
Big step: Although she could have started her college career closer to home, Bowser said, "I was afraid if I stayed in Ohio I'd never get out." Nevertheless, moving thousands of miles from home is a big deal. "It's like you're holding your breath; it's like this big jump," she said. "I know I'm going to have tough times but I'll get through it, and in the end, it will be good."