Leila Bowman, an alumna from Buford High School’s Class of 2017, is the daughter of Lynn and Tracey Bowman. Leila has one sister, Grace Bowman, who is also a graduate of Buford High School, Class of 2019. The Bowman family raised their daughters in Buford and sent them to Buford City Schools from the very beginning, meaning Leila and Grace are considered Buford “lifetimers.”
Singing and performing came naturally to Leila. She began singing in the Buford Community Girls Chorus under the direction of Ed McQuade starting in middle school. Leila participated in the Buford Community Girls Chorus throughout her high school years as well. The talented group of singers traveled across the country and throughout Europe performing. They even performed at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
At BHS, Leila was a member of the Chamber Chorus and Studio B Stars. She really found her niche among the Wolf Pack Players, which is the main theatre group at BHS. During her four years of theatre at BHS, Leila performed in eight musicals and worked tech on four shows. Her senior year she directed and designed her senior project “Into the Woods Jr.” in January 2017. Leila participated in the BHS One Act Play where the group won the One Act Competition in 2013 with “Urinetown” and 2016 with “Parade.”
During Leila’s senior year, she was awarded two different honorable mentions from the prestigious Shuler Hensley Awards. She won best actress at the One Act Play competition her senior year for her performance in “Parade.” Her hard work and talent landed her a scholarship from the Educational Theatre Association.
Even with her busy schedule, Leila maintained an impressive 3.9 GPA throughout her high school career. Her favorite class at BHS was theatre, but she also liked her history classes. Leila said many teachers invested in her and she learned so much from each and every one, but Leila developed a special bond with her theatre director, Mrs. Kimberly Staples.
“She let me direct my own show my senior year and gave me the opportunities I needed to get into a top college with scholarship,” Leila said. “But she also taught me life lessons. Fifteen mins early equals on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable, for example.”
After high school, Leila attended the University of Evansville in Indiana where she graduated magna cum laude in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in theatre design and technology. She was the vice president of the university’s a cappella group. Leila ran a philanthropic event called Jampon, which raised funds for menstrual products for the women at the WYCA in Evansville, and she held several executive positions in her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. Leila had the opportunity to be a part of a study abroad program where she graduated from Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. She was selected to serve on a focus group to rewrite the university’s mission statement and core values and was the president of the UE Orientation Program. Her senior year, Leila was selected as a black box theatre director and was chosen as the keynote speaker for the 2021 University of Evansville’s graduation commencement address.
After earning her degree, Leila has chosen to return to her roots and invest in the community that has given her so much. She will be starting up the inaugural theatre program at Buford Middle School.
“I am so excited and grateful to be back in Buford creating my own program at the middle school,” Leila said. “I remember going to middle school and falling in love with theatre. And I hope to instill that love and passion to my current and future students and create meaningful art that serves the community.”
Leila is an example of what a Buford Wolf is. They take the lessons learned in the hallways of Buford schools and use them to become a successful adult who then pours their knowledge into shaping the next generation. Once a Wolf, always a Wolf!
The Buford High School alumni spotlights are made possible by the generosity of the City of Buford.