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‘Take one thing at a time’
by Garrett Valenzuela
Apr 15, 2013 | 4454 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christopher Griffin
Christopher Griffin
SPARKS — One visit to Bishop Manogue High School in Reno was all it took for Sparks teen Christopher Griffin to find his school of choice in northern Nevada. The 17-year-old junior said his first tour of the facility and classrooms sealed his entrance and impressed him on many levels.

“I came and I visited Bishop Manogue and it just looked like a really nice place to go,” Griffin said. “I saw all the kids were nice. The teachers were good. They had a great graduation and college entrance rate and it looked like a really nice place to be. Everyone is really friendly. I don’t think I have met a mean kid here. The teachers are nice and they know their stuff. Our sports program is good and I enjoy it here.”

Since entering the school, Griffin has compiled a significant academic record and he is currently working through Advanced Placement classes for his Honors diploma. Upper-echelon classes such as AP calculus and AP chemistry, which Griffin said are his most difficult classes, have allowed him to excel at extracurriculars such as Academic Team and the Science Bowl competition. Griffin said the Academic Team performed well in its “pre-tournament season” but did not do as well as they had hoped in the major tournament. He added that preparation was intense for the competition and he is looking forward to stepping into a leadership role next year.

“Our practices are mainly going over questions we have heard in the past and going over concepts that are on those like math and science,” he said. “We are also constantly reviewing current events, which is one of the topics. So we need to know what is going on there. It does get more focused as we get closer.

“I sat in on practices last year but sophomores don’t usually participate much. So this year was the first year I was able to be in the competition and answering live questions. It’s exciting, I think I’ll do it next year as well. I was in a few of the competitions this year and next year with so many seniors leaving I will probably be in there more often, and I am looking forward to that.”

Griffin said the Science Bowl requires similar preparation, with the exception of more outside school prep time. He said the competition provides a game-show like environment fused with an academic trivia element, which he said adds some excitement to the yearly event.

“It’s interesting because the two teams competing have buzzers for it, like a game show, and it is really kind of fun,” Griffin said. “There is no conferring among your team. So we like to divide up subjects so one person can focus on math for the semester and another can focus on geology or astronomy or some science subject like that.

“There are a lot of sciences that aren’t taught, especially in the school. So you need to study outside of school to know what is going on. I was focused on math and chemistry; and my AP classes really helped that preparation.”

Griffin is also active in community service, a required activity at Bishop Manogue, in the Sparks community with several projects on his list. Most notably, Griffin said he has helped feed homeless citizens of the city and he volunteer referees for youth soccer in Sparks, bringing him humbling experiences along the way.

“It feels good to give back,” Griffin said. “Feeding the homeless is very humbling to do and to know that there are people out there who are less fortunate than you are is very humbling.”

Griffin said he hopes to volunteer at Kids University this summer, a program for children hosted at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he would like to give back to a program he enjoyed as a child.

Looking toward the future, Griffin said he would like to study Computer Science in college to follow his passion for programming and a love for video games. He said his AP class requirements do not allow for much free programming time, but he could see creating video games as a future occupation.

“In the past, I have played a lot of video games and, to be honest, that kind of inspired me,” he said. “I like programming and creating something and seeing it is cool for me. That is something I can see myself doing.”

Griffin said he has yet to apply to any colleges and is still unsure which school he would like to attend. He said the University of Illinois is on his list, his father’s alma mater, but for now “nothing is definite.”

As the final months of his junior year tick down, Griffin said he continues to “take things as they come,” which he feels is his best strategy for coping with stress and managing his many commitments.

“I try to take one thing at a time and get it done as it comes,” Griffin said. “I have an independent study period at school which really helps out a lot. It is just an hour of getting homework done and that is really helpful. I take things as they come and get it done and go on to my next thing.”
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