Winnett graduate sets inspiring example

Deb Hill
News-Argus Managing Editor

Andrew Jewell is introduced during Grass Range-Winnett’s homecoming football game last fall. 

Photo by Doreen Heintz



Winnett graduate Andrew Jewell has, in his words, had a “rough life.” Originally from Missouri, Andrew explained his family has moved frequently. 

“I grew up in poverty,” he said. “My parents moved around a lot, trying to find a better life.”

Eventually the family ended up in Colorado, but the death of his mother caused Andrew to move out on his own.

“I liked Colorado OK,” he said. “But we had come to Central Montana on our way there, and I wanted to come back. I like it here.”

Being a young man of great faith and strong character, Andrew set out on his own. He spent his senior year in Winnett, living in an RV outside the home of a family friend.

“She took me in,” he said. “She’s been like a mother to me. I think she is an angel.”

While he hasn’t been at Winnett schools long, he has been there long enough to know he enjoys the small school atmosphere and the support of the teachers. But Andrew has plans, and is already looking to the next phase of his life.

“I’m going to WyoTech in Laramie, Wyoming,” Andrew said. “I’m going to learn auto tech and do street rod customization. I have a $5,000 scholarship. Classes start at the end of June and I’ll be in school for nine months. I’m excited to get on with my life and create steps to be financially stable.”

After that? Andrew says it is up to God.

“I rely on the Lord to carry me where he wants me to go,” he said. “I’ll live in my motor home while I’m in school, with my dog Faith. After school I’m trusting in the good Lord.”

Andrew is hoping he will end up in Great Falls, where he and a business partner will, he says, build classic cars and hot rods.

As for his year at Winnett High School? Andrew calls it a year of “high quality education,” because, he said, students get more time with the teachers there. His favorite class this year was math with Miss Murnion, because “she goes above and beyond” to help students.

This year he also played football and was named to the Class C All Star team.

In 2014 Andrew and two other students were featured in a documentary called “Rich Hill,” which focused on the struggles of families in poverty trying to make it in small town America. The film won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary.

In one segment of the documentary, Andrew expresses his frustration at the family’s frequent moves. “I have no control over it,” he says. “They’re the parents, I’m just the kid.”

Now, however, it appears Andrew has taken his future firmly in hand.

“I try to be an inspiration,” he said. “I try to learn from everyone and see what God wants for me.”


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