Top student headed to West Point

The class president and captain of the football team soon will add another accomplishment to his long list of achievements as he joins the ranks of a U.S. soldier.

Chris Schwartz, the 18-year-old son of Laura and Brent Schwartz, of Wapakoneta, begins his future at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the fall, after six weeks of basic training in July.

The Army wasn’t anything he had given much thought to before but thought it would be a unique experience that would challenge him in all new ways and attending the academy is an opportunity few people will ever get to have.

“I’m going to be getting to do things not many others will and growing as a person,” Schwartz said of how he is approaching the next few years.

He said he believes he is up to meet the mental and physical challenge of what he will be doing and may even try to walk on the Army Black Knights football team.

“I’m as prepared as I’m going to be,” Schwartz said. “I don’t know that you can be fully prepared.”

Once his time in the academy is finished he is to serve five years active duty and three years in the reserves of the U.S. Army.

Schwartz may not know exactly what his future holds, but he said he would someday like to hold a defense contract for developing weapons and plans to major in mathematics or mechanical engineering.

Rounding out Schwartz’s list of high school achievements are throwing shot put in track, membership in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), earning his Eagle Scout rank, competing on the academic team, serving as president of the National Honor Society, and he has played baseball.

Favorite memories of his time at Wapakoneta are reaching the football playoffs this year with a group of guys he had played with since seventh-grade.

“We worked hard all season and it was nice to see all that hard work pay off,” Schwartz said.

He took nearly as much pride in the individual achievement of earning his Eagle Scout rank during a Boy Scouts banquet a year ago.

“It took me seven-and-one-half years and felt like such an accomplishment,” said Schwartz, who was active in the Boy Scouts since he joined cub scouts as a young child.

Listing math as his favorite subject, Schwartz said he feels blessed to have been able to maintain high academic achievement, finishing as one of the top five students in his class, as well as to experience athletic success in high school.

“Each thing I do gives me a different experience, a different lesson to be learned,” Schwartz said of his broad range of involvement. “Each has helped me grow differently.”

He said many of his experiences have helped him develop a strong work ethic which he expects to take him far in life.

Community service experiences have driven home the point that everyone is part of the community in which they live and thus has some responsibility to help others.

While his future may take him far beyond county, state and even national borders, Schwartz said it is comforting knowing no matter how he does in life he will always have a community that looks at him for who he is.

When the youngest of three children does leave Wapakoneta, Schwartz said it will be his friends that he misses the most.

He didn’t want to get too specific, but Schwartz said when he addresses classmates during Wapakoneta High School’s graduation on Saturday, he plans to recite a quote his dad always shared with him.

“It’s helped me in the past and I plan to take it with me in the future,” Schwartz said.

He hoped the quote could have the same kind of impact on fellow graduates.