Belen Jesuit Preparatory School senior Gunther Prussing already knows where he’s going to college. Prussing will head to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs for the fall semester. He applied to the other U.S. military academies, but withdrew his application when the Air Force Academy accepted him. As yet, he’s not ready to declare a major. He’s thankful that he has until his sophomore year to pick a major. If he had to choose now, he says his major area of study would be either para rescue or pilot.
“I’ve always wanted to be in the military,” he says. “The Air Force Academy came in first for me. After looking at all the academies, I decided that Air Force was the best one.”
At Belen, Prussing played on the lacrosse team as a freshman and a junior. He says he took a break his sophomore season to concentrate on boxing. Although he likes both sports, this year he decided it would be more beneficial to concentrate on boxing instead of lacrosse because he’s going to try boxing in college.
“I started boxing at seven years old and I’m decent at it,” he says.
Prussing is into music, so he created a music-oriented community service project.
“I made a newsletter promoting music so kids can start being educated about music,” he says. “We had a Musician of the Month for the school. We also had an artist who was Musician of the Month. One was a kid from the school and the other was an actual artist. It was cool.
We got kids to join the music program.”
Prussing has been playing guitar since he was six years old. Today, he’s in the Honors Jazz band at school. “We won silver in the Disney competition a few weekends ago,” he says. The competition included bands from all over the state.
Outside of school, Prussing volunteered at His House.
“I’d go there and hang with the kids and play ball with them,” he says. “Their parents are not legally allowed to see them. I would sometimes bring my guitar and play for them. They would get super excited. I did that last year during the summer and a little during the school year.
All junior year. Every other Sunday I would go and hang out the kids.”
Prussing says he found the experience to be fun and heartwarming.
“You could see how happy they are that you are there,” he says. “It’s actually an enjoyable experience.”
He spent most of his time with the three to eight year olds.
“The younger kids were super excited to play with,” he says.
Prussing also took part in a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with other boys from his school and students from other Catholic high schools such as Carrolton and Lourdes.
“We go and build a structure they need,” he says. “The one I went to, this past summer, we built a 40-foot bridge over a river.”
Now the people who live in that poor community can come and go as they please.
“The trip was 10 days long,” he says. “We were the first group that actually finished a project on time. In past years, we did all the grunt work, but we couldn’t finish.”
Going on the trip made him appreciate all he has.
“Like actual bathrooms,” he says. “And running water that is not cold.”
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld