Century High School senior Chance Bowlinger has high hopes of someday being a Harvard University student. While he waits to see if he can get off their waitlist, he has a spot ready at North Dakota State University to study computer science and math.
No matter where Bowlinger ends up in the fall, he has a considerable scholarship to bring with him.
Bowlinger has been named Teen of the Year by MDU Resources Group Inc. and The Bismarck Tribune. He was awarded a $5,000 scholarship Thursday during an event held at MDU Resources honoring all of this year's Teen of the Week winners. It was the first time since 2019 that the ceremony was held in person, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Before he revealed the overall winner, MDU Resources President and CEO Dave Goodin had all of the teens stand up and then listed attributes of the winner. After each fact, he asked the teens to sit down again if they did not fit in that description.
After two rounds of descriptions -- being from Bismarck and in All-State band -- all but two teens were sitting. Bowlinger realized he had won after Goodin announced that the winner had a perfect score on the ACT college entrance exam, leaving him the last one standing.
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“I was very surprised," Bowlinger said. “It's so tough in a group with such qualified candidates to pick out an individual, especially when so many people are so talented in so many aspects. It's fantastic to be with a bunch of great people.”
Since September, the Tribune, in partnership with MDU Resources, has recognized 32 exemplary high school seniors from across the region and shared their stories through the Teen of the Week series. This is the fourth year of the program.
Weekly winners were selected by Tribune staff from nominations submitted by school counselors, who received recommendations from teachers, administrators and coaches.
The son of Robin and Paul Bowlinger is a 4.2 GPA student who’s taken 11 advanced placement classes. He is a National Merit Scholar and one of the four students from North Dakota to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.
Bowlinger was a part of the 2021 state champion science bowl team and has won multiple awards at various math competitions.
In addition to being a top-performing student, Bowlinger is an accomplished musician and athlete.
He plays piano and is a percussionist in Century’s jazz band. He has made the All-State band five times and the All-State jazz band once. He also received a Four Year All-State Music award. He said his passion for music comes from how fun it is to play with other talented musicians.
Bowlinger has been on the varsity track and soccer team since he was a freshman. He was named the West Region Senior Athlete of the Year and was a recipient of the 2021-22 WDA Senior Scholar Award. While the recognition is nice, he said, he is most proud of the positive team dynamic he helped foster by being a good leader.
“In 10 years, I’m not going to brag about how I was player of the year in high school,” Bowlinger said. “I think the memories you make by being in a good and positive team are more impactful than a plaque.”
Goodin and Cory Fong, MDU Resources director of communications and public affairs, also spoke during the event. Both said that while the virtual format used for the past two ceremonies was fine, they were excited to have the event be in person again.
“As this year’s teens’ ambitions and achievements have been highlighted during the past year through The Bismarck Tribune’s reporting, I have heard repeatedly from our employees and from community members how inspired they are to do more and be better,” Goodin said. “We are all awed by the accomplishments of this year’s remarkable and diverse teens.”
Tribune Editor Amy Dalrymple said in remarks at the event that she is impressed by the work ethic and leadership skills demonstrated by the Teens of the Week.
"What’s particularly remarkable to me is how active you are in your communities through volunteer work, church activities and school fundraisers," she said. "I suspect that MDU and other employers who read your inspiring stories are likely keeping tabs on you and will be eager to recruit you."
Previous Teens of the Year Callie Stonecipher (2019-20) and Laura Muggli (2020-21) attended this year’s event.
Stonecipher, a BHS graduate, is majoring in animation and minoring in graphic and interactive design and film production at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Muggli, a Grant County graduate, is studying financial services banking at the University of Mary.
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