By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
Editor’s Note: This story is the second in a series of stories about graduating seniors in Quay County high schools.
It wasn’t a normal school day at Logan High School if it didn’t start with his voice, or end with the aural evidence of one of his pranks.
Denton Dowell was one of 24 seniors who received his diploma Saturday from Logan High School. The outgoing New Mexico Future Farmers of America vice president is planning to continue his education at Clarendon College in Clarendon, Texas, where he will study livestock judging.
When the 2006-07 school year begins at Logan, many wonder what they’ll miss most — Dowell’s work ethic, or his sense of humor. His father, Dallas Dowell, said he has tried to raise his two children to have the former.
“When they go on to college and they treat that just like a job, they’ll get along just fine,” said Dallas, a farmer, rancher and mechanic for Valero Energy. “I’ve had people tell me … if you give (our children) a job they stay on task and stay on it until the job is complete.”
The job is now complete for Denton’s high school career, and he’s for the most part happy with how everything went. He was a member of FFA, National Honor Society and student council and played football and basketball until he tore ligaments in his ankle in his junior year.
Denton decided not to try sports again after his injuries, and said he second-guessed himself a little when he saw his former teammates finish as the Class 1A runner-up in basketball in March.
“I kind of regretted that I didn’t tough it out and play,” Denton said. “But I played with those guys since sixth grade, so I was rooting them on too.”
While many of his friends were known for their work on the basketball court, Denton became known as the first voice students heard every day. Student council members shared the responsibility of giving morning announcements over the public address system, but most expected the announcements to come from Denton with his traditional closing of “Git ’R’ Done.”
While students and administration alike counted on Denton’s voice to start the day, the main office counted on his afternoon prank as well.
“All year long, we found an alarm clock in the office,” said Connie Jackson, an administrative assistant to the superintendent. “He would set it and hide it in the office. Every day, this alarm clock would go off after he left.”
The joke was even funnier when the office workers got to return the favor by buying Sue Dowell an alarm clock for Christmas, with the instructions to hide it under his bed.
“He can take a joke as well as play one,” Jackson said.
What wasn’t a joke around the Dowell household was education. Sue is proud of the fact that Denton’s older sister Tiffany graduated with honors from Oklahoma State University and is planning to attend law school at the University of New Mexico.
“It (educatdion) was extremely important,” Sue Dowell said. “It was important in my household growing up and in my husband’s household.”
Both Sue and Dallas grew up in households where both parents were teachers.
Denton didn’t follow the family footsteps of education, but Dallas said he always figured his son would do something involving horses or other livestock because riding horses is a favorite activity.
In that respect, Denton is viewing his college career as a chance to learn, and not necessarily train for a specific job.
“It’s not really a career,” Denton said. “It’s something that will stay with you forever if you stay in the livestock industry.”
Wherever his career field takes him, Jackson and others are sure he’ll give himself every chance to succeed.
“He’s a great kid, he’s an academic kid,” Jackson said. “He’s a real leader. I think the other students admire him.”