Boulanger: College 'always in the plan'
Gaston senior battled OCD during high school career
Series wraps up
Today we conclude our series of stories about first generation graduates from the Class of 2014 those who are embarking on a higher education.
Leading up to commencement weekend, June 5 to 7, weve featured students from one local high school per week. Weve already highlighted Forest Grove and Banks. Today we focus on Gaston High School to close out the series.
David Boulanger turned 18 on May 5, about seven years after he decided he wanted to go to Oregon State University once he left Gaston High School.
My family is a wrestling family, and OSU is a wrestling school, said Boulanger, who was a grappler until his freshman year, when his athletic interests turned to football, which he lettered in all four years. Ive been a Beaver fan since I was in sixth grade.
Davids parents, Amy and Jeremy Boulanger, met as students at Gaston High. His dad dropped out after sophomore year, but his mom finished her coursework and graduated. Neither went on to gain a higher education, but both spurred their oldest son along his academic path.
My dads encouragement has always been for me to go to college, so college was always in the plan, said Boulanger, a tall, dark-haired Native American who likes to hunt with his dad. Whether to go was never a choice in my book.
Jeremy Boulanger works at Stimson Lumber outside Gaston. Amy is a medical assistant. The tight-knit family which includes Davids younger brothers Patrick, 13, and Hunter, 9 moved to town from Cornelius when David was 3.
The strapping senior is glad they did.
Its like extended family out here, Boulanger said. You know everybody, and everybody knows you.
Even though Boulangers grade-point average now hovers above a 3.0, school hasnt always been easy for him. As a youngster, he had trouble concentrating, which led to difficulty retaining material.
I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in second grade, said Boulanger, and that made learning really hard. Sometimes things just didnt click. His parents signed him up for tutoring in math and other subjects at the Sylvan Learning Center, extra lessons that gave him a boost.
By the time he was a junior at Gaston High, Boulanger was taking advanced-placement classes in history and English.
Its funny, because Im not a very language-savvy guy, he said. Id never been able to write a really beautiful essay that moves someone. But Ive learned how to use writing in that way, and now its my favorite thing.
Besides the AP courses, Boulanger also enrolled in a Woods I class for which hell receive dual credit that transfers to OSU.
At Gaston, Boulanger has adopted a smorgasbord attitude, dabbling in a range of classes over and above whats required from math, science and PE to language, law and philosophy. I dont want to be that guy whos only good at one thing, he said. Id rather be OK at a lot of things than the best at only one.
Hes tried to spread his philosophy around the halls at GHS. Im always telling kids they should take at least one AP class, and while theyre at it, why not take two or three? he said. Too many seniors think they can just hang out and stop trying.
Boulangers list of extracurricular pursuits extends to the stage. Hes been in six plays, including The Last Gladiator, as part of Gaston Highs drama department.
His time as a thespian challenged him to come out of his shell.
As a little kid I could only talk to one person at a time I was that shy, he said. In high school drama, one exercise required him to write a subject on a piece of paper and put it into a hat with a bunch of others.
Then I had to pick one out and give a two-minute speech about it, he said. Mine was Miley Cyrus: After Hannah Montana and before the Video Music Awards.
With commencement approaching June 7, Boulanger said the last four years have gone by in a blink. It feels like I walked in as a freshman and a day later I was a senior.
Still, hes looking forward to college where he hopes to change the world by encouraging people to be OK with other peoples perspectives and make his parents happy at the same time.
The day I got my letter of acceptance from OSU, my mom came home with a cake in her hands, he said. We all celebrated together.
Boulanger plans to major in zoology or biology, with an eye toward someday working with large mammals at a zoo. Id like to find out why theres such a connection between humans and these big animals, he said.Add a comment