DC mourns the death of Wilson alum Shellie Bowers

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DC mourns the death of Wilson alum Shellie Bowers

Courtesy of Wilson Baseball

Courtesy of Wilson Baseball

Courtesy of Wilson Baseball

Ellida Parker

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Shellie Bowers, a Wilson alum who went on to teach, mentor, and coach athletic teams at the school, passed away December 4 at 55. Until the end, Bowers was a beloved announcer at Wilson games, cherished for his signature catchphrase: “threeeeee pointer!”

Bowers followed his love for music, broadcast journalism, and sports throughout his life. He was a radio announcer for local stations and for Voice of America and Radio One. Early in his life, he launched Shel Shocked Productions, a platform for broadcasting DC high-school sports. And while working as radio teacher and attendance counselor at Wilson, he started the Tiger Radio and Broadcast Program, a platform for students reporting on school news and events.

He had a “deep love,” for Wilson, where he worked as an attendance counselor and radio teacher until 2010, and where he coached the JV baseball team for over two decades. He was proud to be the iconic announcer of Wilson football, basketball, and baseball games.

Students remember him for his recognizable voice and for the seemingly boundless energy and excitement he brought to Wilson sports. “He always had a smile on his face when he was announcing. He used to announce at my games, both JV and varsity, and he was enthusiastic about every single game,” said Khiree Simpkins, a junior on the basketball team.

“He used to say, “First and 10!” and then everybody else would yell, ‘Wilson!’” recalled Phylicia McKissick, a senior, at the basketball team’s Monday home game against Roosevelt. “He was just a great announcer, period. He will be dearly, dearly missed,” added Nancy Ouattara, also a senior.

“He was a big part of Wilson. His voice—it did a lot for all the programs. It’s really hard to put words to all that he did,” said Varsity Basketball Head Coach Angelo Hernandez.

His significance in students’ lives extended far beyond the gymnasium and football stadium. He got to know students, and was always happy to tutor them after school. “He’d see a kid struggling and he would talk to them and work with them. He made a big difference in a lot of kids’ lives,” said Instructional Coach David Thompson.

Bowers left his official position at Wilson in 2010 and went on to teach at Kramer Middle School, Ballou High School, and later School Without Walls as a substitute teacher. During this time, he continued to coach Wilson baseball and announce at Wilson games.

Senior Usha Hippenstiel, who attends School Without Walls, had a particularly close relationship with Bowers. “He was much more to me than just a substitute teacher,” she said. Bowers often attended the Walls games upon students’ promptings, and consistently went above and beyond to show his support for the players and the school. Before a highly anticipated Wilson-versus-Walls lacrosse game last year, Hippenstiel made certain that Bowers would be in attendance. When Walls came out on top, the two were sure to take plenty of photos to commemorate the win, which was an especially big deal for the Walls team, as they have significantly smaller athletic department than Wilson. Several days later, Hippenstiel asked Bowers to send her the photos from after the game.

“He said, ‘Oh, I have something better for you,’” and proceeded to pull out a collage of photos from the game, complete with the date and score.

“He knew how much that meant to me,” Hippenstiel explained. The collage has been hanging on her bedroom wall ever since. “He really hit the soul of every student,” she said.

At Monday’s game, Athletic Director Mitch Gore delivered a tribute to Bowers, followed by a moment of silence. The boys basketball team dedicated its season to Bowers, and will wear patches on their uniforms in honor of him. “He will always be a big part of what we do,” said Hernandez.