a community engagement initiative of Momence CUSD #1
Paul Bishir tries to take the classes that provide the most value. While the knowledge obtained through that instruction might be qualitative, he also has a quantitative agenda. He wants to be a ranked player in the academic game. “I’m just trying to get the highest grade I possibly can,” he says, “because it seems like it’d be the most useful thing to do.” It’s convenient for Paul that the subjects he regards as the “most useful ones” are his favorite. “I just think they’re easy,” he says.
By Nate Fisher
It’s no surprise that his career aspirations are moving toward a currently vague something “related to science or math.” The possibilities are expansive. He has the opportunity to take an online coding class next year, which could unlock a whole new avenue of potential. There’s a 3D printer sitting largely unused on his desk, and he eagerly awaits the free time to download a schematic and print a Rubik’s cube. If messing with hot new tech doesn’t open doors, he’s considered a job in actuarial science. “They make tons of money from just doing math for insurance people,” he explains. “I just know that I enjoy the subject enough.
However, there’s more to Paul than formulas and figures. He’s quite a musical dude. He has played alto saxophone since 5th grade and is a theater staple in the community. Last year, he was cast as Oliver Warbucks in the school production of Annie. He already has an impressive background in stage musicals since his first role in 2018, having performed roles from Horton the Elephant in Seussical to Gaston in Beauty and the Beast Junior. You can catch him this year in The Play That Goes Wrong as he continues his momentous climb to all-star stage actor status.
Paul says his friends would describe him as “crazy.” “Because I do weird things sometimes,” he elaborates. “If our school had a class clown, I might have been it.” By our estimation, though, there seems to be nothing particularly odd about Paul. He likes meatloaf. He has a disdain for eggplant and sardine chips. He cooks. Once he finds a good book, he won’t stop reading because he finds it difficult to start again. He prefers woodwinds to brass instruments. Again, this might be niche stuff, but we’re not exactly facing down a rare extraterrestrial species here.
Maybe what Paul’s friends mean is that he’s eccentric. “I just like having a ton of buttons instead of three and different combinations where you have to go either high or low,” he says. He’s talking about the alto sax, but we have a feeling that his preference for multiple buttons extends to the way he lives his life overall, as well. Why have two modes when you can fire on all cylinders? Paul’s dry, sardonic wit and unexpected, detailed observations lend Momence yet another distinctive character that stirs it up to keep things in the district interesting.