It has been a long, strange journey for Amphi junior Boe Reh (pronounced Bo Ray), but it’s going quite well right now and should be even greater in years to come. Boe and his family are Karenni, an ethnic group from Burma (now Myanmar) that was the subject of attempted genocide. Many Karenni escaped into Thailand; that’s where Boe was born. His family eventually made it to America, where they have adapted incredibly well.
Boe is absolutely devouring high school, taking classes like AP Physics and Calculus (as a junior), while playing not one, two or three sports, but four, a feat almost unheard of in this day and age of club teams and coerced specialization. And he’s just killing it in the classroom.
His distant cousin, Mi Meh (also a Karenni), is on track to be the valedictorian for this year’s senior class at Amphi, while Boe is the front-runner for that honor in the Class of ’23. I asked him what his grade-point average was. He knew that he has straight A’s through high school, but he had to whip out his phone to check his weighted GPA (from all the AP classes he’s been taking).
For what was a minute or so (but probably felt like an eternity in teenage time), Boe poked and prodded and furiously swiped at his phone, but couldn’t gain access to his school records. He finally gave up. I told him that, a million years ago, I had also been valedictorian and I can never get stuff off my phone, either. It’s probably just a valedictorian thing.
He’s currently playing cornerback for the undefeated Panthers. He has made several big tackles, but has yet to break up (or intercept) a pass. “They don’t throw the ball near me,” he says, completely guilelessly.
Boe and his teammates are certainly hoping to make it to state this year (the Panthers were a perfect 4-0 last year when the Health Department shut down the season due to an exploding COVID-19 situation). But, whenever the football season comes to an end, it will just be time for Boe to move on to his favorite sport, soccer.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was very young. I remember watching the Karenni soccer team play in Phoenix.”
But after soccer will come the real test of his athletic prowess, not to mention his time management. Boe is the setter on the boys’ volleyball team (which plays in the spring). However, several of his friends (and Mi Meh) are trying to talk him into playing tennis, not instead of volleyball, but as well. Boe is such a good athlete, if he were to go out for tennis (a sport at which he has simply dabbled in the past), he would instantly be the No. 2 player on the varsity squad.
Looking ahead, he wants to go to college, but not in California or anywhere in the South.
His field of study? “Something in medicine… or maybe engineering.”