While many high school seniors are still working out what they want to do with their lives, Glenn Boatwright, 17, is eagerly preparing for his future. Boatwright, has known what he’s wanted to do since 8th grade.
When he was 12, Boatwright and his father, Jim, attended an Atlanta Falcons game. With seats in the front row of the end zone, Boatwright had a premier view of touchdown celebrations and exhilarating plays. The enthusiasm of the players and fans is what sparked his excitement for the sport. “It was the kind of game that made me want to be around the sport for the rest of my life,” he said.
His dream of becoming a sports broadcaster on ESPN has developed from the life-long interest in sports that he shares with his father.
To prepare himself for college and his dream career, Boatwright has competed in speech competitions for the Future Farmers of America, discussing what the world would be like without modern agriculture. He has performed in the school theatre, playing the role of Cupid in “The Follies of Heros,” and he is enrolled in college credit and advanced placement classes. During his senior year, Boatwright went out for the Clay Panther football team and played wide receiver, defensive end and was the team’s squib kicker.
He says that he didn’t play football prior to his senior year because it wasn’t offered at the middle school he attended, and he didn’t want to be the only freshman without playing experience. As a senior, that was no longer a concern, and he wanted to take advantage of his last opportunity. Boatwright’s decision to begin playing football was an effort to prepare himself for his dream career by getting an insider’s view of one of the sports he wants to cover. “Playing football helped me understand the sport better,” he said. Playing the sport gave Boatwright the ability to see formations on the field and help him understand the strategy behind them. He now understands what the offense and defense are trying to do. “I understand the mentality rather than just the rules.” After spending time on the field rather than in the stands, Boatwright says that his interest and ambitions are even stronger.
In addition to his advanced placement classes and role on the football team, Boatwright began hosting his own show on the local radio station, 101.7 WYAP, “The Yap,” in September. With 12 employees, it’s a small, nonprofit, community-funded station that broadcasts online and six to 10 miles from its parking lot location. During his broadcast, he sits by himself in a small room in a trailer that’s parked at the edge of an empty parking lot. Boatwright says the main focus of the station is to stay on air while serving and providing various activities for the Clay community. However, they are working to grow and broadcast farther out.
Boatwright believed that volunteering with radio would be good experience in preparation for college and contacted Andy Waddell, the station manager. After learning everything he needed to know from Waddell, he became the host of the Saturday night, “Glenn Jammin’” show. Each weekend, he opens and ends his show with the Beatles because they’re his favorite band. He spends an hour and a half playing his favorite 60s, 70s and 80s rock ‘n’ roll music and interviewing locals, the “Clay Countians of the Week.” Among people he’s interviewed are the 2010 Homecoming Queen, the director of the Golden Delicious Festival, and the star quarterback of the Panther football team. He knows that he averages anywhere between two and 10 listeners online, but is unsure of how many listeners he has within the station’s broadcasting range.
“Glenn is exactly what we’re looking for,” said Waddell, who has volunteered at WYAP for 12 years.
A major contributor to Boatwright’s motivation and success thus far is his parents, Jim and Karen Boatwright. He says they are constant in their support and encouragement. When it comes to making plans for college, Jim and Karen say the choices are truly up to their son. Boatwright would be the first generation to graduate from college in the family.
Boatwright has a close relationship with his father. “He’s my best friend,” Jim Boatwright says when describing his son. Jim and his son have always shared a passion for sports and this common interest has strengthened their relationship. In addition to being WVU football season ticket holders and attending every home game since 1997, Boatwright and his father have attended the Daytona 500 in Florida, an Atlanta Falcons game in Georgia, and last year, they traveled to Indianapolis for WVU’s Final Four tournament. “I’m really going to miss him,” Jim said, referring to when Boatwright will leave for college.
Glenn is considering three colleges: Marietta College, in Ohio, Marshall University and West Virginia University. As of now, his top choice is Marshall. Before graduation, he hopes to improve his ACT score and become more knowledgeable about the Broadcast Journalism field. He’s working hard for his dream job at ESPN because he doesn’t want to become trapped in a job that he would hate for the rest of his life. He says that he knows Broadcast Journalism is something he’d be good at and enjoy doing. Whether it’s something small like calling football games for Glenville State or something larger like working at ESPN, Glenn is excited to begin the next chapter of his life.
“I’m doing everything I can here in Clay to end up working for ESPN,” he said.
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