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Student-Athlete of the Week: James Bohn


When you consider what is meant by “student-athlete,” often one side of the equation counts more heavily than the other. However, Dawson junior James Bohn truly embodies the idea of the student-athlete – demonstrating the value and challenge of balancing the two sides, and achieving the very highest echelons of each.

Bohn’s primary sport is slalom kayaking (K1), and he serves as captain of Dawson School’s acclaimed Canoe/Kayak Team, which regularly sends its athletes to national and international competitions. Bohn has competed in Olympic Trials in K-1, and keeps his hand in slalom closed-deck canoe (C1) events, as well.

Coach Nate Lord said, “Jimmy is the most advanced slalom paddler on our team. He is accustomed to competing on the most difficult whitewater courses in the U.S. and is familiar with many competitions’ venues in Europe. He has a high level of technical skill, and he is unfailingly generous as a mentor for the less experienced athletes on the team. As captain, he sets the tone for athlete behavior, and is always looking out for our newer/younger team members – some of which are middle schoolers. Jimmy started on the team when he was in seventh grade, so knows the challenges that can bring.”

Bohn races next at the nation’s oldest whitewater festival, FIBArk, in Salida (CO) in June, before competing in age-group nationals in Idaho in August.

At Dawson’s Upper School awards event, one presenter began recounting Bohn’s many accomplishments. “Highest possible ACT composite score (36). Acing Stanford online multivariable calculus course. Robotics captain, master coder, and mentor. Captain of the canoe/kayak team – and a master paddler himself, including competing at K-1 Olympic Trials.” The list went on, before Bohn received the Harvard Book Award, but you get the idea.

The presenter was Dawson’s Head of School, George Moore who, in giving the award, noted, “Jimmy is curious and engaged with everything, yet humble about his many accomplishments. For his academic excellence, leadership, consistent effort, and service, I am pleased to present this award.”

Bohn was also awarded the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal at the awards event, given to a junior who must be “ranked in the top 10 percent of the class, demonstrate a potential for success, excel in advanced math and science courses, exhibit well-rounded interest and involvement in extracurricular activities, and demonstrate adherence to vigorous academic standards.”

If the student chooses to attend Rensselaer after graduation, the award comes with a $100,000 scholarship. Bohn hasn’t yet decided his post-Dawson plans, but clearly will have some great options.

This year Bohn was captain of Dawson’s robotics team. According to Erik Nickerson, Dawson’s physics teacher and robotics coach, “Jimmy has been a strong member of the robotics team, and this year was elected captain. When a student curses during robotics, we make them do push-ups, usually equaling the number of the day of the month. Jimmy generally elected to do his as handstand pushups.”

Added Nickerson, “In AP physics he is one of the top in the top in the class. He is extremely curious about the concepts and absolutely loves big challenges that go beyond the normal curriculum. He does not need nor care about extra credit, but he does it anyway simply because it offers a good challenge.”

Bohn also studies Mandarin, and recently returned from the school’s China immersion program, an adventure he really enjoyed. He has had years of involvement in community service; in middle school he was involved in the Scouts program and received the Presidential Service Award for volunteering over 100 hours. He mentored an elementary school Lego robotics team for three years, and received the Youth Volunteer Award for his efforts. When not at school, Bohn enjoys gaming, programming, card magic, and chess. He enjoys traveling and scuba diving, and has obtained his Advanced and Rescue certifications.


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