Se­nior Sets Eye On Mil­i­tary Acad­emy


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kutter EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

“I want to get bet­ter for col­lege. Col­lege, I know, is not ev­ery­one’s goal but if you want to go to col­lege, you need to chal­lenge your­self.”

Seth Swain

Farm­ing­ton High School Se­nior

— Seth Swain, a se­nior at Farm­ing­ton High, is a young man set on a mis­sion that started in eighth grade.

The Ra­zor­backs’ new foot­ball coach Chad Mor­ris an­nounced his motto to re­porters at SEC Me­dia Day in July: “Put it in the left lane and put the ham­mer down.”

That’s how Swain, 17, views his se­nior year at Farm­ing­ton Ca­reer Acad­emy.

He is full steam ahead as he plans to ap­ply for the Air Force Acad­emy in Colorado and the United States Mil­i­tary Acad­emy at West Point, N.Y., along with tak­ing Ad­vanced Place­ment classes, serv­ing as pres­i­dent of the se­nior class and par­tic­i­pat­ing in foot­ball and track.

“It’s go­ing to be a chal­leng­ing year, the hard­est year of my school life.” Swain said. “I re­ally wanted to chal­lenge my­self my se­nior year to be ready for the acad­emy if I got there or any­where I go.”

Swain at­tended St. Joseph Catholic School from kin­der­garten through fifth grade and Mc­Nair Mid­dle School in Fayet­teville in sixth and sev­enth grade. His fam­ily moved to Farm­ing­ton so he could at­tend Farm­ing­ton schools be­gin­ning in eighth grade.

He said he was in­ter­ested in Farm­ing­ton be­cause he wanted a smaller en­vi­ron­ment and thought he would get op­por­tu­ni­ties at a smaller school that he couldn’t get in a high school as big as Fayet­teville.

Swain also de­cided in eighth grade that he wanted to pur­sue at­tend­ing ei­ther the Air Force Acad­emy or West Point. That goal meant his re­sume needed to in­clude lead­er­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties, ad­vanced classes, a high ACT score and grade point av­er­age, and ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

Swain’s de­sire to go in the mil­i­tary fol­lows other fam­ily mem­bers. His un­cle served in the U.S. Navy and his grand­fa­ther, who is de­ceased, served in Korea with the U.S. Army.

He wants to at­tend one of the acad­e­mies “to be a part of some­thing big­ger than my­self,” he said, adding he wants a non-tra­di­tional col­lege ex­pe­ri­ence.

Since com­ing to Farm­ing­ton, Swain has had sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn and grow at lead­er­ship con­fer­ences.

He was se­lected to rep­re­sent the school at the Hugh O’Brien Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence as a sopho­more and rep­re­sented the high school at Arkansas Boys State this sum­mer.

Swain said both lead­er­ship con­fer­ences gave him a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive when he met other stu­dents from dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

He said he learned “some­times you have to fol­low and lead from the back by ex­am­ple. You don’t al­ways lead from the front.”

Swain said lead­er­ship skills in­clude be­ing an en­cour­ager and mo­ti­va­tor and hav­ing in­tegrity.

“It’s do­ing the right thing when no one is look­ing.”

An ex­am­ple on the foot­ball field, Swain said, is when the coach says to do a cer­tain num­ber of reps.

“You con­tinue to do the reps when the coach is not look­ing,” he said.

Swain also was se­lected to at­tend the Sum­mer Lead­ers Ex­pe­ri­ence at West Point and this con­firmed his de­ci­sion to ap­ply for a mil­i­tary acad­emy. He was up at 5:30 a.m. ev­ery­day for phys­i­cal train­ing and par­tic­i­pated in three aca­demic ses­sions — English, Ger­man and lead­er­ship and ethics.

“I told my par­ents after two days, ‘this is where I want to spend the next four years of my life.’ I had a call in my heart. It’s what I dreamed of and what I wanted to do.”

This se­mes­ter Swain hopes to in­ter­view with Arkansas’ U.S. rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors, seek­ing a nom­i­na­tion to one of the acad­e­mies. He’ll write es­says and con­tinue to up­grade his re­sume for the schools. He scored 30 on his last ACT exam and wants to raise that score.

“I want to stand out with my es­says, scores and lead­er­ship skills,” he said.

He should know in March if he has been ac­cepted. In ad­di­tion to those schools, he said he also is ap­ply­ing to other small col­leges that in­clude Wake For­est Univer­sity, Fur­man Univer­sity, Clem­son Univer­sity and Elon Univer­sity.

Swain’s se­nior year will in­clude four AP classes, adding to the three AP classes he took his ju­nior year. He is a mem­ber of Ar­vest Ju­nior Bank Board, Arkansas FEMA Youth Pre­pared­ness Coun­cil and a class rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the high school’s Stu­dent Coun­cil

Swain points to one of his teach­ers, Be­lyn Rodgers, as one teacher who made an im­pact on his school ca­reer.

“She re­ally chal­lenged us as a class and helped me to be­come a bet­ter writer.”

Swain’s only “B” in high school so far came in Rodgers’ class.

“I failed my first English test. That was a wake-up call.”

Swain said he talked to Rodgers about rais­ing his grade and her re­sponse was she could make the class eas­ier but it wouldn’t help stu­dents pass their AP English test. Swain said he passed the AP test with score of “3.”

Along with school ac­tiv­i­ties, Swain at­tends Cen­tral United Methodist Church in Fayet­teville where his fa­ther is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. His mother has worked in in­ter­na­tional busi­ness with Tyson Foods for 25 years.

He says he was at­tend­ing church be­fore he was born and is a mem­ber of the church’s Youth Lead­er­ship Team.

While pre­par­ing for a pos­si­ble col­lege ca­reer at a mil­i­tary col­lege, Swain, 6 feet tall and about 180 pounds, also is look­ing for­ward to his se­nior year on the Farm­ing­ton Car­di­nals’ var­sity team. He’s a con­tender for quar­ter­back but also has played cor­ner­back and safety. He en­joys the ca­ma­raderie on the team.

“Foot­ball is my first love,” Swain said. “It started when I was a kid.”

He likes the game be­cause he said he likes “hit­ting peo­ple.” He said he likes the po­si­tion of quar­ter­back be­cause he can an­a­lyze the de­fense and tackle it in dif­fer­ent ways.

“That’s al­ways in­trigued me,” he said.

Swain’s advice to oth­ers is that a high school ex­pe­ri­ence is based on what a stu­dent puts into it.

“You get out of it what you ap­ply,” he said.

His plan has been to have a lot on his plate and to chal­lenge him­self.

“To reach that, you can’t slack off,” he said. “I want to get bet­ter for col­lege. Col­lege, I know, is not ev­ery­one’s goal but if you want to go to col­lege, you need to chal­lenge your­self.”


Farm­ing­ton stu­dent Seth Swain is push­ing through his se­nior year to make it the best one pos­si­ble.

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