Suffolk alumnus finds success

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Parker Bowden grew up in Suffolk Public Schools, and the lessons he learned have given him the tools to success as he nears his college graduation.

Bowden currently attends Christopher Newport University, and he will be graduating in December this year with two degrees. Bowden double majored in finance and accounting with a minor in business leadership.

“I was in Suffolk Public Schools my whole life, and I’ve been able to do a whole lot of different things because of it,” Bowden said. “I was the first class of kids to begin playing football in middle school, and that started shaping me into what it meant to be well-rounded.”


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The school system in Suffolk gave Bowden the chance to flourish in multiple ways with the clubs and sports he participated with at Nansemond River High School.


“They definitely bring the opportunities,” said Joan Bowden, Parker’s mother. “It was a great experience for him, and he was an excellent student. He flourished and did really well.”

Suffolk Public Schools requires community service hours for all of their high school graduates, and this instilled the importance of serving those around you in Bowden. He was one of only 10 students chosen to be a Bonner Service Scholar at Christopher Newport.

One of the requirements of the Bonner program was to do a minimum of 300 hours of service with a specific nonprofit organization, but Bowden far exceeded that. With graduation right around the corner, Bowden will have more than 1,200 hours of community service under his belt.

Through his four years as a Bonner Scholar, Bowden has worked with the Youth Volunteer Corps and the Boys and Girls Club of Newport News.

“I was trying to light a fire for academic achieving and instilling a passion for actually learning,” Bowden said. “Through my service, I have been able to push them to succeed.”

Bowden wants to be the same kind of inspiration for the kids currently in Suffolk Public Schools. “I want to be someone they can look towards and reflect on, because I believed in them that they can believe in themselves,” Bowden said.

Joan Bowden believes that no matter the school he went to, he would have turned out the same, but she’s happy he learned to be the person he is at Suffolk Public Schools.

“As a parent, it’s comforting to know that the public school system has everything you need to have your child be successful,” Joan Bowden said. “I think we get caught up in the most elite schools, but if they are taught what they are supposed to be taught, they can do anything they want.”

Bowden is doing exactly what he wants, and he is making sure to live his life without regret.

Recently, Bowden told his mother that he wants to join the Peace Corps before settling down in a corporate accounting job.

“Being a finance and accounting major, there is a lot of room to get lost in the corporate world, and I don’t want to wake up at 40 or 50 and regret not taking the time to go out and serve,” Bowden said.

“When he first told me I said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ but then I remembered he has a heart for others,” Joan Bowden said.