Editor's note: "Leaders of Tomorrow" is a weekly series that profiles area youth who are doing good things in the community and leading by example. Be sure to check out the video with this story on our website, columbustelegram.com. You can also check out previously published stories in this series on columbustelegram.com.
When Lakeview High School senior Lilly Rowe was in the seventh grade, her computer teacher tasked the class with a poster design contest.
The students were only supposed to make one but Rowe was having so much fun with the project that she created six. At that point, Rowe, 17, realized she had a passion for design and hopes to make a career of it someday.
“I definitely found my passion,” she said of that one fateful, seventh-grade day. “I love doing it. … I like taking photos. I’ve been working with Adobe Photoshop and all of that and all of those programs are so much fun to work with. There are so many things that you can do.”
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Rowe added she likes figuring out the right colors, fonts and placements for a given page.
Next year, she will attend Midland University where she plans to study digital marketing with the goal of becoming a graphic designer. Rowe – a standout on the Lady Vikings volleyball team – will also play for Midland.
After college, Rowe said her dream job would be becoming a media manager for a professional sports team.
She has used her love of graphic design through Lakeview’s yearbook class. Rowe, who has been on the yearbook staff for three years, is the co-editor-in-chief this year.
“Lilly is just a phenomenal addition to the staff both as a staff member and as a leader,” said Lakeview High School teacher Kate Schatz, who also oversees the yearbook. “… She just does a fantastic job leading the other students.”
Schatz added Rowe “has an eye for design.”
“It’s very rare for high school students to have the skillset,” Schatz said. “It’s a great addition to the staff because she can very quickly sketch up something or sometimes when she looks at a page, she can see a way for it to be designed to really bring it to life.”
Yearbook and volleyball aren’t the only activities Rowe is involved in at Lakeview.
She is also a part of Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, Student Council, Striv, basketball and track and field. Rowe also helps out at her church, Trinity Lutheran.
Through Striv, Rowe attained video experience but her biggest involvement is taking photos and creating the gameday graphics. The visuals can be found on Lakeview’s Twitter page.
Striv is a resource that teaches students media skills, like video, as well as a way for high school games to be livestreamed.
Rowe is also a part of Striv Academy which has allowed her to go to Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) state competitions. Part of her duties were to make graphics and shoot photos for the NSAA.
“I got that opportunity and it was really cool,” she said.
Rowe’s first state trip with Striv Academy came during last season’s boys basketball tournament. Then, a few months ago, she covered girls state golf.
Depending on the outcome of this season, Rowe will take photos again at state basketball. However, that will depend on if the Lady Vikings qualify for the competition this year, she said.
Rowe also spent more time with Strive last year after she was injured in a basketball game midway through the season.
“I definitely got to help out a lot more with yearbook and Strive just because I didn’t have practice or club to go to,” Rowe said.
It doesn’t take long to see that Rowe loves sports. She credited her passion for it from her family, adding she was “in every sport under the sun” when she was 6. It was eventually narrowed down to three: volleyball, basketball and track.
Rowe may be quite the busy student but she said through her various activities it has allowed her to gain new experiences.
“It allows me opportunities to grow my skills and gain soft skills,” Rowe said. “It just gets me ready for the workforce.”
Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.