If there is one word that could be used to describe Leander High School student Jared Bouloy, it would be “inspirational.”

Bouloy, a senior, is involved in the rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, captain of the cross country and track teams, a member of the National Honor Society and a PALS (Peer Assisted Leadership Service) volunteer. He is the president of the school’s YMCA Youth & Government program and is a co-founder of the nonprofit Amare Outreach. Up until his senior year, Bouloy was also heavily involved in the Air Force JROTC and had been an officer.

In his spare time, Bouloy enjoys being outdoors, hiking and kayaking. He also enjoys swimming and scuba ping.

Speaking of what his plans are after high school, Bouloy said, “I want to be a military officer in the Marine Corps or Navy and be a special operations officer. Following my military career, I hope to go into politics and serve in Congress, either in the House or the Senate.”

Bouloy began his high school career at Vandegrift High School. His decision to transfer to Leander High School from Vandegrift HS to pursue the IB Diploma Programme was inspired by Lt. Matthew Ryan Vandegrift, the namesake of Vandegrift HS. A 1999 honors graduate of Leander High School, Lt. Vandegrift enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in August of 2005 after graduating from Texas A&M University with honors with a degree in international business. Lt. Vandegrift was killed in Iraq in April of 2008.

Since Vandegrift HS opened in 2009, principal Charlie Little and the teachers, coaches and staff at the school have been intentional about teaching the students about the important legacy of Lt. Vandegrift – one of service, bravery and loyalty. The impressions left by Lt. Vandegrift’s life resonated with Bouloy.

“One of my big inspirations has been Lt. Vandegrift. He was a very admirable person,” Bouloy said. “I never knew him, but I was presented with the opportunity to meet his family. I had military aspirations before then, but meeting them served as a catalyst for those aspirations. I am motivated to go to a service academy, and I want to follow in his footsteps.”

Now in his last year of high school, Bouloy’s commitment to serving and helping others has come to life through the nonprofit he helped launch. Amare Outreach is a student-led 501c3 nonprofit that Bouloy and Dana Pierce began to help young people dealing with abuse and mental illness connect to school-based and community-based services. Students can use the Amare website to submit questions or concerns to school counselors anonymously. Counselors answer the questions in open forums or their answers are posted online. The organization has spread beyond Leander HS into other schools. Through the connections he made because of Youth & Government, Bouloy said that Amare is being used by students in Arizona and Pennsylvania. He hopes to continue to be involved in the organization after graduation.

Keeping up with his academics, school activities and a nonprofit organization means that Bouloy must manage his time effectively. He also credits his family and teachers for helping him balance it all.

“I am lucky to have had the support of the teachers and adults in my life. They have been supportive of my goals and everything I want to do. I have them to thank for that,” Bouloy said.

Bouloy adds that his experiences in school have shaped him.

“Leander High School has done a really good job of modeling me into being the servant leader that I want to be,” Bouloy said. “All of the programs that I have been involved in at Leander HS and Vandegrift HS, I’ve been able to take away something from them.”

Bouloy reflected that in the AFJROTC he learned that one has to be a follower before he or she can be a leader. He has improved his public speaking and networking skills through Youth & Government. He’s learned the importance of accountability in PALS and of the importance of setting a good example for future generations. In cross country and track, dedication and grit have helped him become a better competitor.

Echoing Lt. Vandegrift’s influence on him, Bouloy is aware that others may be looking to him as an example they can follow.

“I believe the most important thing a leader can do is inspire other people,” Bouloy said. “If I am inspiring people to serve others, then I’m serving more people in that way. The gift of inspiration that I’ve drawn from people like Matthew Vandegrift, I hope that it can spread to other people.”