DULUTH — Ray Bandy wants to be a civil engineer when he grows up.
For now, however, the towering future Denfeld High School graduate is perhaps best known as a standout offensive and defensive lineman on the school’s football team and a strong presence – literally. figuratively – and useful for staff and classmates. . He will be one of approximately 165 Denfeld students graduating Thursday at the school’s auditorium.
“He’s a dedicated athlete and student, but that’s not what makes Ray special,” Denfeld counselor Geri Saari wrote to the News Tribune. “It’s how he puts his heart into everything he does and everyone he meets. … He’s the first to help you lighten your load, move a table or offer help when he sees a need.
Bandy himself is much more pragmatic about this.
“If you see someone in trouble, you will help them. It’s plain and simple,” he said. “When I was younger I was made fun of a lot because I was taller. … I grew up and went to the gym a lot and now I can stand up for people.
He said he tries to take every opportunity he sees to help others.
“I’m not a small person and I’m not super weak,” Bandy said, “so I can usually help people with physical tasks.”
But that’s not all: the 18-year-old who can press a ‘cool’ 315-pound bench also coaches a youth flag football team, has organized Denfeld tours for new students and speaks regularly with a school custodian he befriended. as he headed indoors after soccer practice last summer.
“We talk about life and how everything goes,” Bandy said.
Bandy is expected to go to the University of Minnesota Duluth this fall to play football. He said he is expected to be a defensive lineman. Bandy said he wanted to play for the Bulldogs at UMD or the Gophers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
“And UMD has a phenomenal engineering program,” he told the News Tribune. “So I got the offer from them and everything fell into place.”
Originally from Northfield, Minnesota, Bandy’s father is a construction worker and his grandfather was an architect who designed and built homes there.
“I’ve always loved math. I’ve always loved doing things with my hands,” he said. “I always wanted to do something to that effect, and civil engineering struck me as the most interesting and applicable.”
Bandy has credited his father and a fitness trainer at Proctor with helping him become the man he is and hopes to be.
An active practitioner, Bandy plans to join the Christian Athlete Community and says his faith is a “key tenet” of who he is.
“Trying to live my life to the best of my abilities and be as kind as possible,” Bandy said. “It even goes beyond religion. That’s how I grew up. »