Future scientist has social bent

'I like meeting new people and expanding my social bubble'

Keeping with his colorful personality, Garrett Crouse wore this planetary shirt for his Eugene High School senior photo, in honor of his future major in astro-physics.

Keeping with his colorful personality, Garrett Crouse wore this planetary shirt for his Eugene High School senior photo, in honor of his future major in astro-physics.

EUGENE, Mo. — When Garrett Crouse and his pals ran through the halls of Eugene High School chasing a “ghost” as the Ghostbusters for "1980s day," his peers weren’t surprised.

When he pulled out all the stops for the Mr. Eugene contest (a male beauty pageant), he had a blast.

And when the senior boys were determined to beat the senior girls for the first time in a pep assembly dance-off, Crouse was in the mix with back flips and boy-band dance moves.

The flamboyant and cheerful senior at Eugene High School is a self-proclaimed “social bug.”

“I like meeting new people and expanding my social bubble,” he said.

To that end, he’s not afraid to be outlandish to have fun. And more importantly, he seeks to make sure others are having a good time, too.

“Ultimately, what I want to do with my life is help people,” Crouse said. “The more people I know, the more I can potentially help.”

That’s his life’s mission, not his career goal.

Crouse is headed to the University of Colorado this fall to study astro-physics. His ultimate dream is to be a researcher at the NASA branch at CalTech and perhaps become a professor there.

“That’s not much helping folks directly; but maybe I’ll make life-changing discoveries or improve what we already know,” Crouse said.

So, he intends to take with him the volunteerism he learned at Eugene.

“While I persevere toward my goals, I want to help anyone I can in the process.”

It was no small effort on Crouse’s part to pursue his passion, once he realized it was physics and astronomy.

The rural Cole County school did not offer either class. In fact, the closest curriculum to those fields was a freshman-level physical science class.

Crouse signed up for MU High School courses, in addition to his regular school day.

“In physics, you get to understand how every little thing works in the world, then you can truly appreciate the world because you can understand how it works,” he said.

Such curiosity led him to a second-place finish in the physics category at a recent regional science fair.

The experiment tested whether circulation would lengthen the shelf-life of milk. He formed the idea after a spoiled milk incident reminded him of his mother’s teaching to drink from the moving, not still, waters of the creek.

“I’d like to invent a machine that could be installed in fridges,” Crouse said.

Creating an invention, attending college out of state, never meeting a stranger — “I like an adventure,” he said.

“I want to do as much as I can in the world.”

Crouse admits his gregarious, people-person side is in contrast to the advanced-scientist stereotype.

“It’s never bad to be different,” he said.

With an expected grade point average of 4.3, Crouse is at the top of his class with only two others above 4.0.

Crouse has been Science Club president for two years. This year, he also holds the offices of Class of 2014 president, National Honor Society president, FBLA co-vice president, student council vice president, Drama Club vice president and SOAR (Students Offering Awareness and Resistance) vice president.

He also is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Pep Club, FFA and the Academic Bowl team. And Crouse also found the time to create a first-place winning work of art.

But one of his greatest accomplishments when he leaves the Eugene halls will be competing at the state track meet in hurdles, he said.

“Ideally, I’d be taller; but I’ve worked around that,” he said. “I’m willing to do the work.”

His mother Lori Crouse has modeled that 100 percent work ethic, as the hairdresser has supported him in his pursuits.

“She’s one of my role models and one of the nicest people I know,” he said.

And his father Dan Crouse reinforced the value of respect and good grades.

“I want to do whatever I do to my full potential,” he said.

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