As we’ve previously reported, the memory of Adrian Bowman has never been far from the minds of those who knew him. Bowman, a De Smet Jesuit defensive back on the football team, died unexpectedly in February 2014, not long after signing a letter of intent to play at Lindenwood University. He would be getting ready for his sophomore year in college under normal circumstances. Now, his family is working to keep his memory alive through his recognition of the importance of a good education, and a few creature comforts along the way.
“Adrian loved his school and his friends so much,” his mother Nichole Rigmaiden wrote in an email to STLPreps. “He loved people. No matter the race, age or sex. During his time at De LaSalle Middle School he was exposed to so many different things and people that he might not have been exposed to had he not been in that faith based school environment. From De LaSalle Middle he went on to De Smet High School where he excelled and grew as a person and a athlete…he pushed his friends and his peers to go for their dreams and to not let anything stop them. Everyone always told that he was so ‘little’ and that they couldn’t believe that he was able to handle himself on the football field as well as he did. His response was always….’It’s not about size it’s about heart. if size mattered then the elephant would be the King of the Jungle.'”
But Rigmaiden admits that the opportunities at De LaSalle and De Smet Jesuit would likely not have been possible without donors and sponsors of her son’s education. Before Adrian’s death, Rigmaiden said he was concerned about his younger sister’s education in the Normandy School district and was relieved when he found out she would be able to attend De LaSalle. “I am so grateful that Adrian was able to experience this and I want all kids who want this education to have it. I don’t want them to be turned away because their parents or parent can’t afford it. I want to help others just like generous people helped Adrian and I.” This gave birth to the Adrian Bowman Junior Scholarship fund, which Rigmaiden says has distributed three $1,000 scholarships to date.
But the family isn’t stopping there. Now it wants to arm at least 207 students in college or those on their way with care packages.
“I can remember on his first official visit to Lindenwood University everyone laughed because he said ‘Momma if I commit to Lindenwood I’ll be close to home and you can bring me food, candy and do my laundry.’ I talk to most of his friends and I hear in their voice how much they miss home. The conversation usually starts with I miss him (Adrian) so much. The next thing we speak about is grades and how they have to stick in there and their absolute best because we all know that’s what Adrian would have wanted…I know if Adrian was here and away at school I would make him a care package with all his favorite foods and send it to him often…I believe all of the kids that know him personally and some that just know of him through others would feel great if they received a box of love in memory of a friend who loved them dearly. Just like we will never forget about Adrian. I think it would be great to let all kids know that they are not forgotten about while they are away at school.”