Lewis and Clark senior Thorne Garvin starts his average school day taking math classes at Gonzaga University, after which he heads to the Tigers’ downtown campus where he finishes the day with four AP classes. In the mix of all the academic rigor, he finds time to give back to the school he loves.
“He has a very incredible brain that can grasp concepts that most people cannot,” said Kathy Blancher, Garvin’s high school counselor. “But he’s also very personable, sensitive, caring, and he’s very generous with his time. He’s everything we want an LC student to have when they finish.”
During his senior year, Garvin put together a project in which he, with support from Blancher and his parents, refurbished more than 30 computers that were being turned over by the school district so they could be donated to low-income students at LC. Of those computers, 25 have new homes and Garvin is still working on a few.
“In my high school life I’ve used computers so extensively,” Garvin said. “For a student that doesn’t have the means to have a computer at their house that would be a huge hindrance. I hope that it really helps them make the most of the awesome potential that LC has.”
Garvin said he chose to pursue the project because it involved three things he loved: technology, his school and community service.
“To be real honest, I don’t have a lot of kids that are like that,” Blancher said.
Blancher said the day before the computers were donated, Garvin, along with help from his father, spent about eight hours making sure they were charged, running smoothly and ready for new users.
“Poor Thorne had to go home and do homework for probably four hours after that,” Blancher said.
While juggling everything, Garvin is able to maintain a 4.0 GPA, earning him the honor of class valedictorian. That achievement, according to Garvin, didn’t come easily.
“All through high school I’ve struggled with coursework and doing the work,” he said. “My success in high school wasn’t due to any innate aptitude I had. It was due to my willingness to put in work and push through my failures, of which there were many.”
Garvin is heading west to the University of Washington to study computer science in the fall and while he said the rigor of the school and in-state tuition were benefits for UW, something else pushed it over the edge.
“I can ski,” he said. “With the other schools I was considering, I never would’ve been able to ski.”
After his time at UW, Garvin said he wants to work in cybersecurity, a field he was introduced to through LC’s CyberPatriot club. The club competes in the Air Force’s CyberPatriot competition. Garvin worked as a competitor his first two years at LC and has served the past two as the club’s president.
“There’s a little bit of me that’s pleased with being the good guy, but mostly for me it’s the intellectual depth of (cybersecurity),” he said. “It’s not superficial like a lot of things are that I’ve found. There are a ton of different niches you can work in. You can approach it from a very low level or very high level. That breadth is very appealing to me.”
Garvin is also studying for his Amazon Cloud Certification, which confirms one’s technical cloud knowledge and skill.
Blancher, who has known Garvin since he was a freshman, said she’ll miss the senior once he leaves, but is confident they’ll stay in touch.
“He’s so technologically savvy that I’m sure he’ll be cutting into my Bluetooth while I’m driving home someday and I’ll hear from him,” she said.
Joseph Thompson is a student at Gonzaga University.
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