From Marching Band to Cooking, BEHS Grads Lets Passion Lead the Way

Young Tom Jarvis’s favorite time of year was when the Bellevue Arrows to Aerospace parade rolled around. Group after group would display their finest uniforms, drop the tops on their convertibles, and assemble outside of Jarvis’s house before heading to Washington Park. The celebration was a packed and exciting spectacle, but to young Jarvis, nothing could compare to the Bellevue East Marching Band. Now they were something special. 

Jarvis was raised in Bellevue and attended Bellevue Public Schools all the way from Central Elementary School to graduating from Bellevue East, where he himself had the honor of joining the drumline and marching band. 

“It was an all-year thing– concert band, jazz band, marching band, winter band”

Jarvis not only loved being in the school’s band, he excelled at it. One of his fondest memories from high school was when Bellevue East’s drumline was selected to participate in a national parade, sending him and his bandmates on a trip to Washington, DC.

When asked what kind of kid he was in high school, he responded with; “I was in the marching band for four years”. The implication being that he cared about his academics, didn’t stray far socially, and with all things considered, was “a nerd”. 

While he enjoyed academics at East, Jarvis didn’t realize just how special his teachers were, shouting out to Mr. Hayburn, until he had a son of his own.

“The way he taught, and the way he made the subject matter understandable has stuck with me.” 

Jarvis reflected on Hayburn’s impact and how it influences the way he helps his son with math homework to this day.

Jarvis graduated from East in 1999 and went on to be in the drumline at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a semester. 

“It was a good opportunity to be in a community that had similar interests and who cared about something bigger than you.”

What he learned in both East and UNL’s drumline shaped his discipline and “you get what you put in” work ethic to this day.

“It sticks with you,” he states with certainty.

Though he does mention that the biggest difference between his experience in the  Bellevue East and UNL drumline could be measured in pints of beer consumed. 

He says attending college was a rushed decision for him at the time. He returned to school at the Metropolitan Community College later in life to complete his degree. 

Jarvis spent years chasing his various passions through different occupations before landing on his current job at Bozell where he works in advertising but has the unique opportunity to flex one of his biggest interests- cooking. 

A passion for food has been a running theme in Jarvis’s life. 

“I’ve always liked cooking… I would help my mom in the kitchen and then be responsible for dinners when she was at work.”

He would challenge himself to develop new recipes, indulge his wife in fine dining, and spoil his coworkers.

His current office hosts their very own “Chopped”, annual soup showdowns, and various other cooking competitions, despite them all ending in a similar fate; another certificate to crowd Jarvis’s wall. 

In fact, 2020 marked the first St. Patrick’s Day that he didn’t spend cooking 40 pounds of corned beef for his coworkers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

One day over lunch, his seemingly obvious destiny came to a head when a coworker made Jarvis a Facebook page, and thus his business, Tom Tom’s Catering, came to fruition. 

Tom Tom’s Catering helps weddings, baby showers, graduations, and other celebrations feel special by uniting people through meaningful flavors and presentations. 

That’s the thing Jarvis loves the most about food,

“It doesn’t matter what your background is, where you come from. It doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you are. When someone takes a bite of something that is good, they make the same face. Food, drink, and being together is universal.” 

Beyond his musical talents and culinary expertise, Jarvis says being a dad is his biggest accomplishment. Even though his son boasts that he can out-cook his dad with a scrambled egg. 

“That’s just not true,” Jarvis pairs with an eye roll.

Jarvis is on the cusp of taking his skills to the next levels with a special upcoming project shared exclusively with the BPSF Alumni Association. While still preserving the top-secret nature of this next venture, we can confirm there will be a mouth-watering food truck debuting in the future.