Grief leads student to success

2015 All-Washington Academic Team member uses family tragedy to accelerate personal growth

Centralia Brockmann J

Whether he’s studying physics or throwing a baseball, Jeremy Brockmann strives for excellence. As a 2015 All-Washington Academic Team member, Jeremy is thankful for a strong foundation.

Spending most of his youth in Lynden, Jeremy found the tightly knit community a great place to grow up, go to school, and play ball.

“I had a great experience in high school both in education and in sports,” he recalled. “My parents were great role models—hardworking and diligent.”

Life was going smoothly for this aspiring student athlete.

Then in 2011, a tragic loss turned Jeremy’s world upside down. His older brother Jason was hit by a distracted driver and killed. A sophomore in high school at the time, Jeremy remembers the shock and pain.

“I was totally lost,” he recalls.

During the days that followed, the small community of Lynden rallied around the Brockmann family, offering their love and support. Still, through the next several months, Jeremy walked around numb, overwhelmed with grief and anger. Then one day, he came to a crossroads.

“I decided that I could be despondent, consumed with sadness, or I could let (Jason’s loss) motivate me,” he said. “I decided to live life for both of us.”

With a renewed focus, Jeremy did just that. He excelled in sports, playing varsity football and baseball and serving as captain of his team. He enrolled in a special engineering academy his senior year of high school that was offered before school hours. He played bass in the jazz band, served as an officer in the National Honor Society, got involved in his church, was very active in multiple community service efforts and continued to participate in an independent weight lifting/agility program. Learning to live with the loss of his brother was not easy, but Jeremy also saw a positive side.

“One thing I learned from this experience is to value what you have and to tell people how you feel—tell them that you love them.”

When he was ready to graduate from high school, Jeremy knew he wanted two things: to study engineering and to play baseball. He also knew he needed to find the funding to make that happen. After getting a call from the baseball coach at Centralia College, Jeremy came down, worked out for the coach, and was invited to join the team. He then contacted Dan Taylor, associate professor of mathematics, and inquired about scholarships. When Taylor told him about the STEM scholarship, Jeremy applied and won. He received the CC Foundation/National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholarship two years in a row, covering most of his tuition and expenses. (Brockmann also earned six other scholarships, including the American Legion Baseball All-Academic National Team scholarship.)

During his two years at Centralia College, Jeremy has been able to pursue his love for baseball and engineering. In addition, he made the President’s Honor Roll and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He plans to graduate with his associate degree this summer. After taking the engineering courses at Centralia College, he feels well-prepared to pursue his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering.

Ultimately, Jeremy’s dream is to work for Boeing and to get his pilot’s license.

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One Comment

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  1. Sorry for your loss. It’s awesome how you have handled it. Good luck with your future plans.

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