The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Through classes, art teachers aim to grow art appreciation

High Hooping Hopes: Ninth grader uplifts varsity team environment

Bomi+Johnson+played+as+a+double-rostered+player+on+both+JV+and+varsity+for+the+first+month+of+this+basketball+season+but+was+moved+up+to+only+varsity+when+he+showed+consistent+improvement.
Peyton Palmer
Bomi Johnson played as a double-rostered player on both JV and varsity for the first month of this basketball season but was moved up to only varsity when he showed consistent improvement.

In only his first year of high school,  Bomi Johnson is making his name known as one of the only ninth graders on the varsity boys basketball team. For some, it’s just an extracurricular to list on applications, but for Bomi, it’s a hope for the future. 

Bomi grew up in a sport-loving family, with his dad playing soccer and his mom running track during their school careers. He also derived much of his inspiration from his older brother when deciding to join basketball. His brother played on a travel basketball team from elementary school to high school. 

Bomi remembers tagging along to his practice when he was only 3 and trying to copy their drills. He’s been playing ever since.

“I think basketball is just something that can take you away from all the other things that are going on in the world, and, like, I think that it’s something that you’ll always be able to have fun with,” Bomi said. 

He played as a double-rostered player on both JV and varsity for the first month of this basketball season but was moved up to only varsity when he showed consistent improvement.

 Senior Michael Sawaqed, varsity co-captain, has recognized Bomi’s hard work and expects to see it pay off throughout high school.

“His composure for a ninth grader is something you don’t see very often,” Michael said. “For someone so young, to be able to have the composure of an older person, like a 12th or 11th grader at the varsity level, is wonderful.” 

Michael said the other team members have grown close to Bomi, and he feels he brings up the team’s energy. He thinks Bomi has the potential to do great things both on and off the court.

“I’ve been playing with Bomi for quite a long time now and his progression has been amazing. His ability to learn and take things in, from not only the coaches but the leaders on the team, has been great,” Michael said. “Honestly, in that 9th-10th grade, there’s no one else like Bomi who has that sense of leadership and has that ability to bring everyone together.” 

Head Coach Andre Battle, shares Michael’s sentiment. He’s worked at Lab for around seven years, has spent time coaching Bomi’s older brother, and sees Bomi’s distinct dedication. 

“He wants to be as good as he can be. I’ve seen him over break running the Midway Plaisance, running sprints with his older brother,” Coach Battle said. “I think he has great potential. I’d say, at this age, he has a lot to learn, but he’s not afraid of the moment, and I think he’ll turn into a fine player.”

The boys varsity team meets almost every day after school, with practice running from 5-7 p.m. Not only does he have to balance late practice times with school work, but he also plays for the Chicago-based travel team, Team Rose, which is only with youth basketball players of the same age group. 

While Bomi enjoys his time on Team Rose, he is excited to continue playing with his peers at U-High, where the difference in grades has introduced him to new experiences. His teammates feel the same, as he’s known for his personality, specifically his humor.

“I think Bomi is one of the funniest guys on the team, if not the funniest,” Michael said.

“He brings the team closer together, he’s funny — just having him there just makes everyone else happier and their effort and energy goes up.”

Despite his talent and dedication, he stays humble and appreciative of where he is now. He hopes to apply what he’s learned through playing basketball to his future endeavors, especially his resilience. 

“I mean, me doing well at a young age, I think that it gives me hope for the future and to what I know I’m able to do if I just keep myself dedicated and put the work in,” Bomi said. 

For now, though, he said he has only one goal:

“This school year? I just want to win something.”

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About the Contributors
Skye Freeman, Audience Engagement Manager
Skye Freeman is a member of the Class of 2025 and is an audience engagement manager. She joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year when she was a sophomore. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is her story on the U-High drama teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrosini: “Love that Lasts: U-High theater teachers married for over 50 years flawlessly execute show after show.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing Badminton and is vice president of the Students with Disabilities Association and of the Junior States of America club.
Peyton Palmer, Photographer
Peyton Palmer is a beginning photojournalist and is a member of the Class of 2026. Her favorite parts of photojournalism are learning how to shoot significant photos and taking pictures for others to enjoy. Outside of photojournalism, Peyton enjoys music and hanging out with family and/or friends. She also participates in U-High tennis. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Honorable mention, first-year photo

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