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McAuley senior has turned the table in terms of tutoring

Stellar student profile Emily Bowens who used need tutoring but now tutors others Mother McAuley's Learning Resource Center Mother McAuley

Stellar student profile of Emily Bowens, who used to need tutoring but now tutors others at Mother McAuley's Learning Resource Center, at Mother McAuley High School in Chicago, IL on Wednesday February 6, 2013. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 9, 2013 6:02AM



Emily Bowens is captain of Mother McAuley High School’s varsity swim team, and a member of the water polo team, Spanish Honor Society, Respect Life and Action Reaction.

Bowens, a senior at the school in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, also is a student ambassador, mentor and tutor.

“She is an all-around, kind young lady who gives of her time and talent. She is definitely a success story for Mother McAuley,” school spokeswoman Jennifer Busk said.

With such an impressive resume, it could be hard to imagine that Bowens has had to overcome learning difficulties.

“In grammar school, I had a hard time focusing and didn’t think I was the best student,” she said. “I procrastinated and had problems reading. I pushed schoolwork off and didn’t challenge myself.”

Bowens, who will turn 18 on April 13, made a full-fledged effort to overcome her learning difficulties when she arrived at Mother McAuley.

“I challenged myself more and got myself involved. Today, I am definitely more focused and keep my mind open to learning and being a good student,” she said.

Busk said Bowens has been and continues to be an inspiration to students in the Learning Resource Center at McAuley. The center is open throughout the day for students who need help with classwork. They can come in to finish tests or stop by for tutoring provided by other students.

Bowens used to visit the center often for tutoring. But the tables have turned the last two years. Now Bowens is the tutor and other Mother McAuley students are getting help in Spanish and other subjects from her.

Tutoring isn’t all she does to pay it forward at school. Her favorite role is that of student ambassador.

“As a elementary school student, I attended Girls’ Night Out and family picnics that McAuley would hold. The student ambassadors would run those activities, so I’ve been exposed to it for a long time. I knew from the beginning I wanted to be a part of it,” said Bowens, who entered that role as a freshman and now regularly helps raise awareness and recruit junior high school girls to enroll at Mother McAuley.

“I enjoy everything we do,” she said, “whether it is helping out at open houses or writing letters to girls who might attend McAuley. It is a fun and easy way to let girls know about McAuley and show it off.”

Bowens, of Chicago’s Beverly community, said her parents, Dan Bowens and Pat Byrne, are her mentors.

“I see how strong they are and how supportive they are toward me. They keep me going every day and provide so much for me. I’m so thankful,” she said.

Plans for her life after Mother McAuley are uncertain at this stage. Her major and college choices are yet to be decided. One thing is certain, however: Bowens plans to swim in college. She’s looking at Carthage College in Wisconsin, and Marymount University in Virginia, as well as Illinois schools such as Lake Forest College and Illinois State University.

Her parents and her sisters, Claire, 23, Hanna, 21, and Tess, 15, all inspire her.

“My older sisters went through McAuley and my younger sister is a freshman now. I like seeing what they are doing and I know that I can achieve things just like that,” she said.

“They definitely inspire me. Also, knowing that I have a bright future and have so many opportunities ahead definitely keeps me going.”



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