William Fleming grad going to Harvard

Meet Ollie Howie

May 30, 2013|David Kaplan | WDBJ7 Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. — Graduation season is here and students are getting ready for the next chapter of their lives.

Ollie Howie will graduate from William Fleming tomorrow morning.

"Ollie was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and now he's going back to school there," Ollie's mother Juli Love Bowman said.

If you're not yet 100% sure which university is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ollie Howie's quilt of success might remind you. His mother laid out every single scholarship offer, college solicitation, anything you could think of.

This fall, Ollie goes to Harvard.

We asked him what makes Ollie a good candidate, "I'd like to ask them the same question," he joked, "But I think I'm a leader I think that they want people who will be leaders.

Leading is exactly what Howie will do tomorrow as valedictorian.  He's a young man with as much humility as pride, and his graduation speech reflects that.

"Everybody's looking at me like, you're going to Harvard, you're the valedictorian.  I want to tell them about failure mainly because everybody looks at your success, but most successful people have failed," Howie said.


Howie credits much of his successes thus far to his mother.

"Just seeing her, and she's instilled in me and hammered in me, hammered, hammered into me good things. That's what good things are coming out," Howie said.

Judi Love Bowman says she can't take much credit, that Ollie was self-motivated.  She put that quilt of all his college solicitations and scholarships together both as a reminder to always be grateful for what you have, and to never let her son think anything can stop him.

"I'm just thankful that Ollie had all these choices," Juli Love Bowman, "Harvard's like $62,000 dollars a year. But like I told Ollie, if it were a million dollars a year, he could still go."

The parents in these seats will all feel the same way about their graduates. But not every parent has a kid going to Harvard.

As good as Ollie Howie is in the classroom, boasting a GPA above four, he's even better outside of it.  Howie wants to go on to become a sports agent or lawyer.

Of Howie's many extracurriculars; the one he's most proud of is called My Brother's Keeper, an organization that holds food and clothing drives to help those in need. The organization helped those affected from Hurricane Katrina and helps those in poverty.

If you're still not convinced Ollie Howie is an extraordinary kid; he started the organization when he was just six years old.

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