Class of 2021: Cole Downs

By: Mr. Greg Angilly, Director of Upper School Student Life
Everyone loves Cole Downs.

While that may come off as a hyperbolic comment, I can assure you, it’s true!

Cole joined Cape Henry Collegiate in the Ninth Grade. Prior to becoming a Dolphin, Cole attended Plaza Middle School’s MYP and thankfully, a baseball connection between his younger brother and a current family, provided an introduction of CHC to the Downs family.

Cole entered CHC as a Distinguished Scholar. He established an impressive academic record as an incoming student and has built upon it over the past four years. Cole has successfully tackled ten AP and five Honors courses on the way to earning an impressive 4.2 GPA. He will exit as a member of the National Honor Society and a very well respected student and learner. Cole’s impressive academic resume demonstrates how he dedicates all of himself in each and every class and his academic curiosity and work ethic have allowed him the opportunity to continue his education at the University of Virginia.  

As Cole remembers his early days at Cape Henry, he counts Bryce Jones as being one of the first new friendships he established and is appreciative of how close they have remained. (I asked Cole who his closest friends are and I could clearly tell this was not a question he was comfortable answering—the reason—he has so many friends because he’s the type of guy you want to be friends with!)

The friendship between Bryce and Cole originally blossomed on the baseball diamond, a sport Cole played for CHC in the 9th and 10th grade.  An injury slowed Cole’s ability on the diamond and ultimately led him to pick up golf clubs.  This, as it turns out, was a quintessential moment for Cole.  While he misses the team camaraderie of baseball, he thrives in the individual competitiveness of golf and he’s become incredibly passionate about his golf game.  I personally think Cole gained much more than a passion for golf. I strongly feel the ability to stop an activity he loved, find a new passion and then have success at that new endeavor allowed Cole to gain quite a bit of self confidence and realize he’s capable of just about anything he puts his mind to.

As we chatted about Cole’s academic career at CHC, he shared his favorite class was AP U. S. Government with Mr. Scott McGraw. He enjoyed the content of the class and appreciated the teaching style of Mr. McGraw and the clear passion he has for the subject matter and his students. While he enjoyed the experience in his first AP Class sophomore year, he cites Mr. Palmer’s infamous AP U. S. History class as his toughest academic course. 

As our conversation turned to life outside of the classroom, Cole smiled recalling some of his favorite CHC memories.  He has a particularly fond memory of our Boys Hoops win vs Flint Hill. The CHC comeback led by his friends Bryson Spell and Christian Moore resonates as one of Cole’s favorite fan memories and the afternoon and evening spent with his good friends after the win still puts a smile on his face years later. Our big state semifinal soccer win against Norfolk Academy last year was another of Cole’s favorite sports memories—and believe me, he has plenty of contests to consider, as he has been a SUPER FAN for Cape athletics since he arrived.  Ultimately—that is why Cole is so loved on this campus. He is a genuine, honest, kind young man who truly wants his friends to succeed and he wants to be there to enjoy their success with them.  

I asked Cole about UVA and he is clearly excited to meet new people, challenge himself in new ways in the classroom and enjoy UVA Athletics, while also remaining relatively close to home.  He is undecided right now but open to both law and dentistry as future careers. He knows he’s going to miss the special bond the men of the Class of 2021 have created and speaks to how they collectively get along and enjoy time with each other.  

We briefly discussed this very odd 2020-2021 school year. Cole truly misses the opportunity to be in the stands supporting his teammates. He also misses Wingin It—our famous Friday lunch in the Café. (We all miss those red bowls of deliciousness!) What I truly appreciate about this young man is the fact that he doesn’t complain about what he’s missing—he makes the most of what he has. 

I can say with certainty that Cole Downs is going to be successful in anything he does if he continues to attack life in the manner I’ve seen over the course of the last 4 years. Cole, I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve had with you and I appreciate all you have done for this community. You leave us better than you found us.  You are a good friend to all and you’ve earned the respect of your peers, your faculty and the Administration.  

I’ll end as I started, EVERYONE LOVES COLE DOWNS! 
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