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Falls City High School graduate Marissa Bowman plans to study anthropology.

FALLS CITY — Marissa Bowman just graduated from Falls City High School Friday, but she’s already well into her college coursework.

“I heard the horror stories that taking (advance placement) classes don’t do anything for college,” Bowman said.

She focused taking classes through Chemeketa Community College and will graduate with about 40 college credits, she said.

The 18-year-old lives in Corvallis and was introduced to the Falls City School District through a sports program partnership with Kings Valley Charter School.

She participated in basketball and volleyball.

Besides access to classes at Chemeketa Community College, Bowman said she transferred to Falls City to step outside the social circle she’d had since preschool at KVCS.

“I’ve worked with Marissa since she was in the fourth grade, and she has grown from a sweet, apprehensive girl into an exceptional and courageous young woman ready for adulthood,” said Britton Castor, Falls City High School science teacher. “She is multi-talented and has high expectations for herself.”

Bowman took a biological illustration elective from Castor.

“She really introduced me to that,” Bowman said of Castor. “(That class) gave me time in school to be creative. It was definitely an enjoyable class for me.”

Bowman added that Castor wants her to be “a biological illustrator because she appreciates my artwork.”

“Marissa is a phenomenal artist and has a future in this area if she chooses, but any endeavor she takes on will be successful for Marissa,” Castor said.

Bowman said she mainly draws and paints for herself.

“I do a lot of nature scenes,” Bowman said.

She uses pencil and charcoal, sometimes pen.

“It’s kind of therapeutic — sitting outside, getting to draw what you see,” Bowman said.

Indoors, she has some plants she said she is trying to keep alive.

“Right now, living, I have an aloe and a leafy vine,” Bowman said with a laugh. “I’ve lost about five. In my defense, my friend’s cat sat on them. She lay on them so long they withered away.”

At KVCS, Bowman said one of her favorite classes was human geography taught by Will Andrews.

“I appreciate his teaching style,” she said. “It was a really fun class. I still go back to it and apply information to things I’m learning now, which is really helpful.”

Bowman plans to go to Linn-Benton Community College for a couple of terms before transferring to the University of Alaska Southeast.

“I figured college is the time to go live somewhere you wouldn’t have lived ordinarily,” she said. “I want to go to Alaska for their anthropology programs.”

With that major, “there are a lot of things you can do,” Bowman said. “I really want to do field work.”

For her, that includes living in rural communities and writing books.

“I do really want to go to Brazil,” Bowman said. “There’s a lot of native communities there still, so being able to go there would be nice.”

She hopes to be there by the time she is 25, after she earns her master’s degree.

“She’s a fantastic public speaker, eloquent writer, and has even grown to appreciate math,” Castor said. “Marissa has the curiosity and analytical skills that have made her extremely well-suited to embark on a scientific career. I know she’s off to do great things and is capable of reaching her dreams. Her community, family, teachers and myself are so very proud of her.”

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