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James Thompson

Class of 2020

Walking the halls of Roger Bacon, James Thompson ‘20 is hard to miss. The 6-foot 5 senior Defensive End towers over other students in his class. While his height might be the first thing people notice, James’ quick smile, easy sense of humor, and constant kind words are what they remember most.

In all he does at RB, James is a leader. As a senior leader and football team captain, James is someone his classmates often look to for support and guidance. One of his favorite leadership roles is as a Spartan Leader. “Spartan Leader is a program where student athletes come together to talk about the connection between faith and sports,” James said. “I really love being a Spartan Leader because it gives me the chance to share my faith and my passion for sports with my friends and teammates. It’s a great opportunity for us to support each other and connect our faith with our experience as student athletes.”

James credits his teachers and coaches for much of his success as a student and athlete at RB. When asked who has had the biggest impact on him, he quickly replied, “DOC!” (Dr. Paul Wittekind ‘84) James admires Doc’s energy and enthusiasm for history. “I didn’t even like history before I came to Roger Bacon,” James said. “Then I had Doc, and it was one of my favorite classes. That guy is very exciting--passionate about his job and what he is teaching. He makes me thrilled to learn about anything.” Another teacher and coach who has made an impact on James is David Kathman ‘90. “Coach Kathman has been a great help to me both in football and in class,” James said. “I appreciate all the times he helped me with math homework after school.”

In turn, teachers and coaches have no shortage of kind words about James--many praised his work ethic, leadership, and humility. Head football coach Mike Blaut ‘88 said, “James is the epitome of an RB student. I have been around RB my entire life and if there is a ‘stereotype’ of a typical RB kid, James fits it--hard working, dedicated, loyal, caring, helpful. He goes to school like everyone else, he plays sports, and then he goes and works at his family restaurant until 11-12 at night and still carries an awesome GPA. I know for football he rarely misses a day and when he is there he is one of the hardest-working players I have. His leadership has rubbed off on many of our players.” English teacher Annie Karle ‘06 added, “James is an awesome kid. He’s kind to his classmates--I just saw him carrying a student’s bag who is on crutches. He’s good-natured and willing to do anything you ask of him with a smile on his face and no complaints whatsoever. His effort in class is amazing, and it carries over onto the football field!”

James looks forward to continuing a strong football season, and he’s also excited to throw shot and discus for the track team in the spring. Looking toward the future, James has plans to play football for a Big Ten university. Even more than football, though, he’s making plans for his education. “I’ve always wanted to be a mechanical engineer. That’s my dream, and I will work hard to give myself access to the best education possible. Football is my passion and playing in college is important to me, but my education and that engineering degree are my top priorities.”

Roger Bacon is made up of many faces, different faces. We hope to showcase as wide a range of our Spartans as possible. If you would like to nominate a Spartan, past or present, to be featured as a Face of RB please click here.

“James is the type of person that makes Roger Bacon the kind of place that it is. He works extremely hard inside and outside of his time at RB. With all of that hard work, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is much, much more than just an athlete. He’s a dynamic person and leader who strives to hold himself and others around him accountable to whatever standard is expected. Watching his complete growth as a person has been outstanding, and he is headed towards doing some really great things in his life.”

Mr. Solomon Tentman '10 Guidance Counselor & Football Coach