Profiles: Dual-sport athlete doubles as National Merit Scholar

Editor’s note: This is the first in a four-part series of profiles on Bearden’s National Merit semifinalists from the class of 2014. Alison Jobe, Abby Lowe, Michelle Lames, and Vishaka Motheramgari have gone to school together since middle school, and now all four are National Merit semifinalists.

Dedication and strong work ethic are two enviable attributes, but no one seems to epitomize those two characteristics more than senior and National Merit semifinalist Abby Lowe.

“Abby is pretty much a perfectly all around person,” said Bearden senior Joanna Logan, ho is one of Lowe’s best friends.  “She’s just got that little ‘I get it’ talent.”

Lowe’s hard work ethic and dedication have not only earned her great academic success but also the number one spot on Bearden’s tennis team since her freshman year, and she was voted a team captain on the swim team her junior year (this year’s captains have not been voted yet). Lowe also has three trips to the state swim meet.

Lowe has invested much of her time in high school at the Allen Jones Aquatic center, where she has proven to be a great leader in the pool and out of the pool, helping lead Bearden’s swim team to three city meet champions in a row. She’s even pushed through an ongoing shoulder injury, but most of all, she has led with her encouraging words and actions. Lowe has also been a strong force on Bearden’s tennis team, leading them to second place in the district for the past three seasons.

“She just has a lot of heart,” senior and tennis teammate Annika Goff said. “She puts her heart into everything that she does, and she’s just very passionate.”

Bearden social studies teacher and tennis coach Tyler Lane said last year’s tennis team was young and Lowe took on the role of mentoring the freshmen, which contributed to the Bulldogs accomplishing more than what was expected of them last year.

“Abby has been a fantastic leader for us,” Coach Lane said. “She’s a very hard worker…No one really out works her on the team. She puts in extra time, and she competes as good as anyone that I’ve ever seen; she doesn’t want to lose.”

Lowe knows how tough it can be to balance school and extracurricular activities and has also supported her teammates to excel in the classroom as well. Lowe’s toughest class so far was Mrs. Anna Marie Hughes’s AP Literature class last year, she said.

“Her class just requires a lot of work,” Lowe said. “It’s different from any other English class that you take before that, and you have to look at all the writing in a totally different way.”

Even though Mrs. Hughes’s class proved to be a tough challenge, Mrs. Hughes feels that Lowe is one of the best students that she’s had in her class.

“Abby Lowe is an absolute dream student,” Mrs. Hughes said. “She is responsible, dependable… You can always count on Abby to discuss, to be prepared for any assignment, project.

“Abby Lowe just has drive to be the best, and she most definitely is the best.”

Lowe accredits that drive to her dad, who is a professional tennis coach and her biggest motivator. He was the one who taught her how to play tennis.

“I am really close to him, and we have a lot in common,” Lowe said. “So he’s always really pushed me to work hard, and he’s always helped make my schedules and things like that.”

A few summers ago Lowe started helping her dad, who is in charge of the Whittington Creek neighborhood program, coach kids in their neighborhood and averages over 200 hours in the summer coaching with him.

“That’s really become a huge part of my life,” Lowe said. “I captain the 8-year-old teams, and it’s just really fun, so that’s a big deal to me.”

Lowe plans to study either health science or chemistry in college, but career-wise Lowe wants to pursue something in health science. Lowe’s top two choices are UNC-Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt; however, she was also impressed with Georgia and Alabama.

“I don’t exactly know where I want to go, but I think that [health science is] where I want to be,” Lowe said.

Lowe said that she is interested in pediatrics because she loves kids. She even joined Bearden’s leadership class, which takes weekly trips to Christenberry Elementary School and helps out in the classes and provide snacks to kids who are in low income families. After completing the class, she continued going to Christenberry on her own.

“I love working with little kids, and science is just my favorite thing in school,” Lowe said. “So [pediatrics] seems like the best fit for me… a science career that still involves people not just work in a lab.”

Several different small schools have recruited Lowe for swimming, but she would like to go to a bigger school for academic reasons. However, she still has not ruled out the option to swim in college.

Lowe definitely has a bright future ahead of her, but for now she is just focused on making the rest of her senior year count.

“I expect it to be a really good year,” Lowe said. “I expect it to be a really good year for swimming and tennis and especially for school. I mean, [school] has to be a priority and [so does] looking toward colleges, but I don’t want it to be all about school and sports… [It’s] my last year at home; I want it to be fun as well.”