Editor’s note: Summit Education Initiative is sharing stories of local students that focus on the ‘three E’s’ effort, helping students to become ‘enrolled, employed or enlisted’ upon graduation. (Read the other two profiles here and here.) Here’s a profile of a local student who’s ‘enlisted.’
Isaiah Sears-Gooding remembers the first time he met Marines. “They made an impact on my life,” he says.
Sears-Gooding, a Kenmore High School senior who decided to graduate from Akron Public Schools after moving several times during his childhood, had participated in an activity day after a week of testing in grade school. The Marines helped coordinate this day for students, which included snacks and games.
“When I talked to the Marines during the event, they seemed professional; I liked their uniforms,” Sears-Gooding says. He recalls seeing similar uniforms in video games that depict combat on screens, but actually meeting Marines made Sears-Gooding realize just how real those situations can be.
From then on, Sears-Gooding felt enlisting in the military would be his best fit. He wants to be successful and able to provide for a family someday. “When you’re not raised in a typical household, the military becomes attractive because you are surrounded by other men who care about you,” Sears-Gooding says. “We scream and yell commands together… some people can’t get that feeling anywhere else.”
Sears-Gooding trains six days each week, which sometimes entails flipping over a 500-pound tire. He also lifts at school during wrestling practice, an activity he has been involved with for one year. Now, in addition to his physique, Sears-Gooding’s work ethic is a lot stronger. His ACT® score took a three-point jump the second time he took the test.
“I never really wanted to go to college; it’s hard work,” Sears-Gooding says, adding, “but I know it’s important for being successful.”
Sears-Gooding, who will graduate with 12 college credits, thanks to Akron Public Schools’ Stark PASS program, hopes to major in business upon returning to school after his service.
“The Stark PASS program shows students like me that college courses are not what learning is like in high school,” he says. “We were introduced to the differences between high school and college quicker than other students.”
For now, Sears-Gooding looks forward to June 12 – only about a week after high school graduation – when he will leave Akron to travel to his assigned base for the next four years. Aside from communicating with recruiters and waiting for their responses, Sears-Gooding started writing a book titled, “What’s Cast Aside,” a project he plans to complete upon returning home.
For info, visit www.seisummit.org.