Senior Sets Eye On Military Academy
FARMINGTON’S SETH SWAIN ADOPTS COACH’S MOTTO
“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 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.