Sometimes a slow moving cafeteria line at Roger Bacon creates an opportunity. Andrew Gruenwald and Jacob Beyer started their friendship in that RB cafeteria line. As Andy was waiting patiently and thinking about what it was going to be like to be the only guy on the Jamaica trip, he decided to ask Jacob if he wanted to go along. Even though Andy knew it was a risk to invite someone he barely knew, little did Andy know that Jacob was a seasoned traveler who was eager to take on this spur-of-the-moment invitation.
While in Jamaica, the guys painted houses, worked in the soup kitchen, and read to kids at the local school. As strong believers in avoiding “all work and no play,” Jacob and Andy enjoyed a beach party that the chaperones had designed for the kids between the ages of seven through fourteen. It included a trampoline in the water. They also found time for some cliff diving and snorkeling. According to Andy, “we had the second trip planned to Jamaica before we even returned from the first.”
Since that time, Andy and Jacob have discovered many common interests. In addition to loving to travel, Andy appreciates Jacob’s skill in knowing how to negotiate airports. Andy will join Jacob and his family in Orlando, FL during spring break. On the weekends, both guys enjoy what they call “midnight mozzarella sticks” a food ritual. They also like hot tub chats in 30 degree temperatures while watching the hair on their heads freeze. Both guys admit that they love food—almost any kind but especially grilling steak outside in the middle of winter and eating salmon and cod. No seafood for Jacob.
In the summer, Andy’s aunt invites the boys to stay on her farm where they have learned how to weld, build ATV trails, garden, chop down trees, and do carpentry work—all good skills that will help them maintain their own homes later in life. For now of course, they work for the good food, freedom, and the fun.
As college days approach, both guys plan to pursue a career in the math and science fields. Andy will study engineering at Ohio State University with the intention of earning the Evans Scholarship. Jacob is still undecided but thinks he will choose a local university and study in the biomedical field.
Jacob and Andy agree that they can always count on the other to listen, be spontaneous, and talk freely—traits that they most admire. Jacob reflected, “I am extremely thankful for the friends I have made in the Assisi Scholar Program, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time in the program will bring.” Andy and Jacob will have another travel opportunity when they go to Assisi and Rome, Italy in September 2018 with the rest of the Assisi Scholars. In addition to the spiritual growth they will experience on this pilgrimage, they will no doubt add “gelato” to their foodie list.