FIVE GRADS TO WATCH: AIRPORT HIGH SCHOOL
WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- Members of Airport’s Class of 2019 have received their diplomas and taken their final walk through the halls of their high school, ready to begin a new chapter in their lives.
Many of the nearly 270 students, who graduated Thursday, May 30, have made lasting contributions in academics, student government, sports, and service -- and look to do more of the same in the years ahead.
We talked with five graduating seniors about their Airport experiences -- their career goals, their most influential teachers and the advice that got them through high school.
College: USC Upstate
Career goals: I would like to become a nurse practitioner and eventually open my own practice as an FNP.
Extracurricular activities: TI have participated in band, student government, National Honor Society, Beta Club, B27, JV cheerleading, JROTC drill team, volunteer work
Most influential teacher: Rachel Rabon. She’s one of those teachers who’s not afraid to tell you the truth, no matter how you take it. She’s absolutely amazing, and it’s obvious that her entire mission as a teacher is to do everything she can to give her students the best possible chance at being successful.
High school achievement you're most proud of: I came out of this with two Associate degrees through our Early College program. I’d say that’s horn-tooting worthy.
Piece of advice that has guided you through high school: You have to decide whether to be amazing at one thing or be really great at a lot of things. Don’t limit yourself.
College: Erskine College, where I will continue my academic and athletic career.
Major: Physical therapy, with a minor in special education
Career goals: I hope to one day hold a position as the head physical therapist for a professional team or even a major college. One day I hope to open my own business (physical therapy, athletic training) not only for the “typical athlete” but also for special needs athletes, in hopes of giving them the same opportunities as every other athlete.
Extracurricular activities: Varsity basketball (captain), Beta Club, National Honor Society (vice president), student government (senator)
Most influential teacher: Karen Kish. She is over the special needs program at Airport High School and has had an impact not only in my life but numerous students across the school. Her continued love and support for everyone she comes in contact with inspires us to do the same as we continue to grow as individuals. … My senior year would not have been the same without her and her students.
High school achievement you're most proud of: Throughout my four years at Airport High School, I have tried to be the guy that any student can talk to if they need help or advice. I’m looked at as the “big man” on campus and it’s something that I love. It has helped me mature and grow so I can be a good role model for those who are younger than I am.
Piece of advice that has guided you through high school: In any situation, do it because it not only benefits you but also the ones who surround and support you. Everything is not about you; it’s a difference between being conceited and confident in who you are.
College: Clemson University
Major: Environmental engineering with a minor in packaging science
Career goals: A career in engineering or developing environmentally friendly packages
Extracurricular activities: Swim team, Beta Club, National Honor Society, student government
Most influential teacher: Keith Morris. He was the first math teacher I could truly learn from. He changed how I looked at math, and his teaching helped lead me to what I want to do in the future.
High school achievement you're most proud of: My proudest achievement is getting my Associate degrees in art and science through our Early College program. I’m also super proud of getting into Clemson for engineering and getting into every college I applied to.
Piece of advice that has guided you through high school: Stay true to yourself no matter what happens to your in life.
College: Midlands Technical College, then transfer to a four-year college
Major: Management/Human Resources
Career goals: I hope to become a Human Resources manager, then maybe the CEO. Start off small to get familiar with a company, then work my way up -- become a real 1950s "Company Man."
Extracurricular activities: JROTC drill team
Most influential teacher: CSM Harry S. Ferguson has been the most influential person in my life. His character matches no other, and he always expects greatness from you. He believes you are what you present yourself to be, but he also sees potential. He helps bring out that leader within. I would not be the outstanding leader I am today without him.
High school achievement you're most proud of: In Airport High School’s JROTC history, I am the second cadet to be awarded Cadet Colonel in the 21st Century.
Piece of advice that has guided you through high school: Help is always given if you ask for it. If you’re struggling, someone could always have the answer you’re looking for if you just ask.
College: Anderson University
Major: History and Christian ministries
Career goals: I am not quite sure what God’s plan is for my life yet. If I am not called into the ministry, I will pursue a career in either law, where I will later move into politics, or come back to Airport High and teach history and be the student activities director.
Extracurricular activities: Student council (student body president), South Carolina Association of Student Council’s District Three chairman, Beta Club, National Honor Society, Teacher Cadets, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Blue Crew (Pep Club)
Most influential teacher: I have two. The first is my own mother, Christy Wingard. She has taught at Airport for 21 years, and I admire her more and more everyday. Even through the trials in her life, she has always remained strong and loved her students no matter what. … My second is Daniel Bailey. He has been my student council adviser and student leadership teacher for the past three years and I will always be thankful for the wisdom he has given me on how to live and lead. Mr. Bailey loves his students more than anything and he strives to lead by example to all who see him.
One thing people might not know about me is… I have almost 50% hearing loss in both my ears. I have had this issue most of my life, but thank the Lord that it will not get worse from this point.
Piece of advice that has guided you through high school: No matter what trials or struggles are thrown your way, know that God has everything in the palm of His hand and He will always give you strength to fight.