The class of 2022 is off to do great things, and many have left their mark on the community they grew up in.
Seniors graduating this spring have big plans. Many are heading to college, and others will enter the workforce, enlist in the military, or explore new opportunities.
Frederica Academy graduate Roy Boyd will attend Princeton University this fall and plans to study economics and finance. A class at Frederica inspired him to pursue this field of study and his career plan.
“It was a broad class that covered everything from the stock market to how to handle mortgages on your home, and it was great fun,” Boyd said. “It was very convenient for me.”
Boyd founded the Finance and Investment Club and the Debating Club in Frederica. He also managed the school’s varsity golf team and hopes to play golf at Princeton.
Boyd’s legacy will live on in Frederica through the Drive For Life event, which he organized last year in honor of his father’s fifth birthday without cancer. Funds raised at the event were donated to the Cancer Branch of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the Cancer Care Center of the Southeast Georgia Health System, and First Tee, a nonprofit organization that offers youth development through Golf.
The second Drive For Life is scheduled for July 25 and will raise funds again this year for First Tee.
Boyd is happy to see this fundraiser continue as he contemplates the next chapter of his life at Princeton.
“I’m super excited,” he said. “…It’s a great change of scenery. I look forward to being on my own, exploring, meeting new people, making new friends, and trying to do well in all of my classes. It will be a fun experience.
Jack Slade, a graduate of Glynn Academy, will attend Sewanee University this fall. He hopes to continue writing and acting, building in part on his four years of experience with the GA Players, a theater group at Glynn Academy.
Slade said his experience at GA Players helped him gain confidence. His favorite roles include Olaf in a production of Frozen, Leaf Coneybear in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Shakespeare in Something Rotten! and Gomez in The Addams Family, his latest show.
“It’s a really good community that I’m sad to leave,” Slade said.
He now looks forward to the changes to come.
“I am delighted to have new friends and of course to keep old ones close,” he said.
Kate Walbridge, a graduate of Frederica Academy, will attend the honors program at the University of South Carolina this fall and plans to study biology and Spanish. She hopes to attend veterinary school after graduating from undergrad.
“I’ve always loved animals,” she says.
Her high school experience was filled with community service work.
“I love helping people in any way I can,” Walbridge said. “I was actually chair of the service board and I was always trying to find things to do. I did a lot of community work, including with the Humane Society.
She led the Humane Society’s teen council in Frederica and was an active volunteer for many years in the Humane Society’s hospital wing. She also ran varsity cross country and played varsity tennis, winning state championships in both sports.
“I’m going to miss all my friends,” she said. “I will miss all of my teachers because they were amazing. My mom was my teacher for a few years, and when I graduated, she said, “Oh my God, it’s the end of the day. Take your kid to work.”
Frederica Academy graduate Hannah Dunlap will be attending the University of Georgia this fall and plans to enter the medical field as a nurse or surgeon. She is also considering sports marketing.
“I have three older brothers, and the two older brothers are both doctors now,” Dunlap said. “Growing up and seeing them go to medical school and then moving on to their own practice and hearing their stories of how many people they’ve helped really intrigues me.”
She is ready to start her journey.
“I’m excited to build something for myself and work towards something I’ve earned,” Dunlap said.
Ansley Franklin, a graduate of Glynn Academy, plans to bring her passion for music to graduate school at Agnes Scott College, where she will major in math and minor in music. She played the viola for four years in the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra, during which time she saw her confidence and skill level grow.
“I look forward to new opportunities,” she said.
A graduate of Heritage Christian Academy, Dawson Lane knows what we want to do, but not exactly how to get there: he wants to fly for the state Department of Natural Resources.
The exact job really doesn’t matter, Lane said. The DNR uses pilots for a variety of tasks, such as tracking illegal shrimp fishing and monitoring wildfire damage. It doesn’t matter whether he does one of those jobs or something else, as long as he can fly around and survey an environment he likes.
He first found love for flying on his second time behind the stick. What surprised him was how quickly he was cleared to fly. He immediately knew what he liked.
“The thrill,” Lane said. “You feel free so far. It’s not like driving.
It may seem difficult to do, but when an experienced instructor guides you, it’s the easiest thing, he explained.
For now, he’s headed to the College of Coastal Georgia and into a general studies program.
“I don’t know what I’m going to specialize in, I have to talk to my advisor, but it has to be something that will get me into the DNR so I can fly for them,” Lane said. “I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I worked really hard (to get here).”
Blake Buccholz’s academic career, meanwhile, has been characterized — at least in recent years — by discipline and a desire to have a solid path laid out before him.
“I come from a private school, but I struggled a lot with academics. I was way behind in math and literature,” Buccholz said. “I was supervised every day and I ended up rising to the top of my class. Not student number one or the very top, but the top.
After completing Brunswick High’s Navy JROTC program, he is now heading to the Citadel and into that school’s Army ROTC program on a full scholarship from the United States Army.
Being part of the Navy JROTC, the physical rigor of the program was a nice complement to the academic rigor he strove to maintain throughout his high school career. En route to The Citadel, Buccholz said he would keep it that way.
“Honestly, I can’t wait for the physical, mental and academic challenge that I will face,” Buccholz said.
He also sketched out the next few years of his life quite carefully.
“I’m looking at commissioning as a second lieutenant, an engineer officer,” Buccholz said. “I’m majoring in civil engineering, hoping to find employment with the Army Corp of Engineers.”
Whether he stays in the military as a lifelong career or enters the private sector depends on his future opportunities.
He especially thanked Linda Rooks, Kimberly Hawthorne and Erika Johnston, teachers who helped him throughout his school career.
“They’re one of the reasons I’m where I am today, with my mom, my brother, and my dad,” Buccholz said. “It was a blessing. I was lucky to find the people I found. Especially the teachers.”
He had a separation council.
“I would say don’t take anything for granted, always stay true and do your best. The first year is so important. I would love to do it again,” Buccholz said.
Tyson Rooks has had a whirlwind senior season at Glynn Academy that will result in the 6-foot-5 athlete attending the University of Illinois this fall on a football scholarship.
“Going into high school, my main focus was basketball, and in my senior year everything was so unexpected,” Rooks said. “Everything went well.”
During his first three years at Glynn, Rooks wrote for the school’s basketball team in addition to competing in athletics and tennis at various times. But with encouragement from friends and members of the Terrors football team, Rooks gave the sport a try.
Showing natural athleticism on the gridiron, Rooks quickly made a name for himself, and within weeks of concluding his season, he had already racked up more than 10 offers from Division I schools.
Now, Rooks is set to continue his athletic and academic journey at the Prairie State’s flagship school, and he can thank Glynn Academy for helping him prepare.
“Having great coaches, great teachers and keeping God on my side,” Rooks said. “All of that helped.”
A variety of setbacks cost John Wise Long the best part of three prep baseball seasons while at Glynn Academy.
The pandemic cost the spring athletes a semester, and once some normalcy returned, Long suffered an elbow injury requiring Tommy John surgery and a torn ACL in consecutive seasons. Nonetheless, Long got an offer to play baseball at the University of North Carolina and ran his final campaign cheering on his friends and teammates from the dugout.
“I loved every year of high school, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Long said. “Glynn Academy is such a special place for me and my family, and just the memories, the teachers and the friends you make, it really is a great place.”
A Brunswick native who has resided in the Golden Isles his entire life, Long looks forward to the new experiences that await him in the exciting next chapter that begins in Chapel Hill.
“My plans are, of course, to play baseball, but to get a degree,” Long said. “I don’t know what I’m going to major in yet, I’m thinking in business somewhere, but I’m just looking forward to having a good time, meeting new people.”