Dozier And Alexander Honored With McGowan And Wong Awards - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Dozier And Alexander Honored With McGowan And Wong Awards

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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 10:53 am

The two most prestigious student honors presented annually to graduating seniors at Coronado High School are the Jike Wong Award and the Molly McGowan Award. The Wong Award for 2019 has been presented to Bryce Alexander and Avery Dozier is the winner of the McGowan Award.

Awarded since 1944 in memory of McGowan, who passed away during her junior year in 1943 after a lengthy illness, the perpetual award honors the senior girl who best achieves the ideals of friendliness, scholastic achievement and service. The Wong Award is named after Jike Wong (CHS ’48), who died in a car accident shortly after his class graduated. The criteria for the Wong Award, which is inscribed on the trophy are, “Scholar, athlete, leader, and friend. To the boy who best exemplifies these ideals.”

Although being an athlete isn’t part of the criteria for either award, Alexander and Dozier both were outstanding in their respective sports and coincidentally both scholar-athletes earned five varsity letters during their Islander career. Dozier won four letters in Soccer and one in Track. “I ran the 100, 200, the 4x100 relay and did the long jump. I was the shortest long jumper out there.”

Alexander at one point in his Football career was a combination quarterback and defensive back, eventually transitioning into a middle linebacker and tight end by his senior year. Alexander was a center for the Islander Basketball team for the past two seasons and was an effective big man who could rebound, play defense and score enough to keep the opposing defense honest.

And both Alexander and Dozier are fans of each other. When asked why he thought Dozier won the McGowan award, Alexander said, “It makes perfect sense that she won it. Any extracurricular activity you can think of is on her resume. She was a Soccer Captain, ran her own blanket drive for the homeless since she was eight, is the Associated Study Body President and super involved in the community. You name it, she does it. We had AP Physics together this year and she was the smartest person in the room.”

The praise travels both ways. “Bryce is a natural-born leader and he really cares about other people,” Dozier said. “You can see that in everything he does from football to school, in classes and on the field. He has this air to him that people respect him. People listen, follow and trust him with anything. He has a good heart, too. He is very deserving of winning the award. I have known Bryce a long time and he’s going to do big things.”

Dozier is the daughter of Michele and Brian Dozier, was born at Balboa Naval Hospital and has lived in Coronado her entire life. “My Dad was a Lt. Commander and Aviator the Navy,” Dozier said. “He turned down a lot of jobs so we could stay in Coronado and I’m happy he did. Now he’s a Project Manager at General Atomics and Mom is a Marriage and Family Loss Therapist. She has a master’s in Psychology. My family has been in Coronado for four generations and we really can’t leave. We leave and then come back.”

Avery’s brother Austin (CHS ’17) was Senior Class President during his time at the school. “Austin’s a Colorado State in Ft. Collins, and he’s playing Rugby there,” she explained. “He’s a Construction Management major so he can work in the family business when he graduates.”

Dozier’s Coronado lineage runs through the maternal side of the family and includes Mom Michele Falletta Dozier (CHS ’87), Grandmother Barbara Oliver (CHS ’67), and Great-grandmother Beatrice Falletta (CHS ’41). A smattering of relatives including Aunt and Uncle Tony and Janet Ryan Falletta and their children live locally as does Great Aunt Patricia Falletta Forey (CHS ’65), and Great Uncle Curt Oliver.

Also in the CHS Class of ’65 were Carol and Bill Lemei, the latter being a veteran and widely-respected member of the CHS Faculty. “Mr. Lemei has been my inspiration to go into the field of Physics,” Dozier explained. “He’s so wise, and I look up to him a lot. He has had an impact on a lot of people’s lives. Our families are closely mixed, and they all went to high school together.”

Soccer has played a large role in Dozier’s life to this point. “I started playing Soccer when I was four and I’ve played my entire life. I started playing Recreation Soccer at Tidelands for a couple of years and then went straight over to the Albion Soccer Club. I met a whole new group of girls outside of the Coronado bubble. I’m still really close friends with the girls I played with at Albion. I quit club soccer after my junior year when I realized I didn’t want to play Division I Soccer and I wanted to focus on my career and education.”

Islander Girls Soccer Head Coach Mike Costaglio said of Dozier, “Captain Avery Dozier, a player, a leader and a most important a person who I will never forget. Anyone who has followed Coronado High School Varsity Soccer knows that that Avery was one of the most dominant ladies on the field. Avery could and would play any position on the field for the good of her team. Avery was also our ‘Coach’ on the field and our friend off the field. Avery was strong, tough, and demanding of her teammates but at the same time compassionate, supportive, and a motivator. She cared about every player on the team. Avery is an example of success through hard work and dedication while not forgetting about family and friends. Avery Dozier, our captain, our teammate, our friend for life.”

An example of Dozier’s compassion first manifested itself at the age of eight with her blanket drive to benefit the homeless. It evolved into much more. “We collected a few hundred blankets the first year and this past year we had 5,000 donations of socks, blankets and jackets. Any winter gear went to the Alpha Project, Father Joe’s Village, or a day shelter in the Barrio. Or I would just walk around and give things to people, talk to them and hear their stories. Two years ago I wrapped blankets for Christmas and just hung out with people all day while they opened their Christmas gifts. It was an emotional experience. Some have hope and haven’t given up yet, which is really inspirational.”

The 2019 Powder Puff game, won by the Seniors 7-0 in triple overtime was a CHS highlight for Dozier, but not for a reason you might expect. “It was about our team and class coming together. We were so excited and supportive of one another. With any class, there are disputes and feuds between people and all of those went away during Powder Puff. We were talking and cheering people we had never met. It was so spirited. As ASB President, my goal for four years was to make the school more spirited and seeing that was rewarding in itself.”

Dozier won a slew of academic awards including the Michael G. Moore Physics Award, the Big Kahuna Award, the Regents Award and medals in Science and Math, to go along with Certificates in English, Math and Science. Her favorite book is “Astrophysics For People In A Hurry” by Neil deGrasse Tyson. “In such a short book, he talks about so much and he leaves you with so many questions,” Dozier said. “It made me really excited to be a Physics major.” When asked for a preference between books and E-readers, Dozier responded, “Definitely real books. I like holding an actual book.”    

Asked to look 10 years ahead and predict what her memories of Coronado High School will encompass, Dozier said, “Hopefully a lot. I had a really good four years here and I hope I remember to talk to all my friends because they are incredible people and I don’t want to lose those connections. The teachers at Coronado are truly special people and very supportive. Ms. Nicole Belong has been my Biology teacher and ASB Advisor. She is one of the most caring and supportive people I have ever met. She has helped me grow as a leader and a person. She has really been amazing.”

When we talked last week, Dozier was two days away from departing on a three-week train and backpacking trip through Europe. When she returns home, Dozier can be found working as a busser, runner, hostess and soon-to-be server at Bistro D’Asia.

In the fall, Dozier will take her 4.43 grade point average to UC Santa Barbara where she plans to major in Physics, with the intention of pursuing something in the field of engineering or engineering management. Dozier said, “I had gone to the campus a few times and once I researched more about Physics, I found they have three Nobel Laureates teaching there. I loved the location, I loved the environment and I met students there who spoke about how much they loved the school.”

And Dozier is most appreciative of her family and their role in her life. “My Mom and Dad have raised me to be the way I am. They taught me respect and kindness toward everyone. I couldn’t ask for better parents and I won the genetic lottery on that one. And my brother Austin has been such an amazing support for me. He has such a big heart and he is a people person who loves everyone. That inspired me to treat everyone with the same level of kindness and compassion.”

Bryce Alexander is the second of four children born to Navy Captain Christopher Alexander and his wife Elizabeth. That note has both an immediate and long-range impact on Bryce, as the day after our interview and his graduation, the Alexanders moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where Captain Alexander is Commanding Officer of the Surface Warfare Officer’s School, a command he began one month ago. The family includes older brother Sullivan, who played basketball and football at CHS (Class of ’17), Bryce, younger brother Finley who is a rising sophomore and sister Meghan, who will be in seventh grade next year. Sullivan is attending the University of Florida in Gainesville and is in their NROTC Program. Bryce was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and has lived in Norfolk, Virginia, Hawaii and Coronado.

The longer-term impact of the family business is that Bryce plans to return to the Left Coast with his 4.29 GPA and major in Industrial Engineering at USC. He will also participate in NROTC, with an eye toward a career in the Navy. When asked about his decision to become a Trojan, Alexander who was wearing a USC hoodie when we met for our interview said, “Honestly, they have everything I’m looking for, the big school feel and at the same time they teach in an almost one-on-one way because they are a private school. It’s the best location ever, they have great sports and they have an NROTC program.” Alexander will be able to take at least 12 credit hours to USC, possibly more pending on his scores from this semester’s testing. He added, “They have super-dense schedules in Engineering at USC. I may need the cushion from my AP hours to lighten my class load and make everything possible.”

Alexander was a somewhat reluctant quarterback for the Islander Football Team for two years and he made the transition to being a dominant player at middle linebacker for Coronado this past season. He described his Varsity Football experience and what he learned along the way. “It taught me how to be a leader and at the same time, if I take a step back, they formed me into who I am. Head Coach Kurt Hines challenged me to be a vocal leader, although that was out of my comfort zone. I played safety even when I was playing quarterback. I wanted to go out and play football and not be restricted. There was so much pressure on me, that it wasn’t as much fun playing as when I played defense and could fly around with no rules. The coaches told me, ‘Go make a play.’ As a senior, that’s what I got to do, and I loved every single second of it. Instead of worrying about the play and being in a restricted position, I could fly around and make a play.”

His most enjoyable moments at Coronado High School involved sports. “Honestly every second of this previous football and basketball season I enjoyed. Looking back in it, I would like to relive that again. But obviously, it doesn’t work that way.”

His senior year in football, Bryce was a middle linebacker, tight end, and long snapper for punts and place kicks. He was also voted the Most Valuable Defensive player on the Islander team this year.

Coach Hines said of Alexander, “Bryce was a two-year captain and a three-year starter. It’s not often in the 22 years I have coached that a player is nominated by his teammates to be a captain two years in a row. From a football standpoint, he will be greatly missed. Bryce was a selfless team player who made things happen on both sides of the ball. As a multi-sport athlete, he was someone who in that season gave it his all, was fully locked in and phenomenal. He is a great student and the type of young man you like to build a program around. He wasn’t ridiculously gifted, but he was a hard worker and had great character through and through. He is an amazing young man.”

On the academic side of things, Alexander is a big fan of Advanced Calculus Teacher Sandra Davis. “Calculus led me into the Engineering major. I will have to take Calculus at USC, depending on the Advanced Placement (AP) results, I could go directly into Calculus III. Every single teacher I had in high school has had a real impact on me. This year especially, Ms. Davis is a great person and there for her students. She’s awesome. I truly think the material she teaches couldn’t be taught any better at all.”

As for honors, Bryce said, “I was one of the Top Senior Athletes through the Rotary Club of Coronado and I was a winner of the Warrior-Poet Award for Literature presented by former Head Football Coach Bud Mayfield, who was there to hand me the award. And I won an Islander Award for math this year.”

Alexander’s favorite book to date is “Lone Survivor,” about Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell. “I think it’s cool coming from a town with a large SEAL population like Coronado. The book is super-extreme, and it was cool to read about all of his experiences from BUDS to what he went through to serve his country. Those elements really interested me.”

Alexander and Dozier both share a preference for printed books as opposed to E-readers. Bryce said, “I like the way a book feels in my hands. Reading an E-book isn’t the same thing.” Both Dozier and Alexander were on the Homecoming Court this year and Bryce’s look 10 years into the future is similar to Avery’s. He said, “I’ll remember all the connections I made in Coronado. It feels weird for me to graduate and leave here tomorrow. In reflecting on my time here right now, the connections I made won’t be lost in 10 years. I’ll come back here and pick up where I left off.”

When asked why he thought he won the Jike Wong Award, Alexander who seems honest to a fault said, “I was shocked that I won something like that. Because from an early age I got involved in football and basketball and those friends shaped me. Receiving the award was due to those people, my coaches and teachers getting involved and letting Coronado influence me. I think everyone from my family, to every single teacher, to my coaches and friends. All of those people I was interacting with on a day-to-day basis, those are the people who allowed me to win the Jike Wong Award.”

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