When Lincolnton High School senior Ryan Moore was in the third grade, he visited the United States Naval Academy for the first time. He knew then what he wanted to do with his life.
â€œItâ€™s awe-inspiring just seeing everyone walk around in full uniform,â€ he said.
After excelling as both an athlete and an academic, Ryan has achieved his goal and received a $300,000 scholarship to the academy.
His father called him at school with the good news. Ryan had an unexpected reaction.
â€œShock,â€ he said. â€œI mean, you work so hard and then you get it â€“ what do you do?â€
Throughout high school Ryan pushed himself both academically and athletically in order to receive the honor.
Applying required filling out a number of lengthy applications, taking both medical and athletic tests and receiving a nomination from a member of congress.
After the application process was finished, all he had left to do was bide his time.
â€œI had all this stress building and building waiting to get that letter,â€ he said.
When the acceptance letter arrived, he received many high fives and slaps on the back. His mother cried tears of joy and Ryan came up with his seven-year plan.
â€œI like to set goals for myself. I like to keep everything structured,â€ he said. â€œI have a lot of friends that are a lot smarter than me and donâ€™t know what to do (with their life). That scares me because I feel I always need a plan, a course of action.â€
Ryanâ€™s strict self discipline is probably in his genes â€“ both his father and grandfather were members of the military.
His grandfather, now retired, canâ€™t share information about the 20 years he was a lieutenant. Itâ€™s classified he tells Ryan.
His father, on the other hand, enjoys discussing the days he served on a submarine, but Ryan refuses to repeat the tales.
â€œMy Dadâ€™s stories are kind ofâ€¦ rowdy I guess,â€ he said.
Ryan may come up with some rowdy stories of his own. His career starts this summer in boot camp. He will train for two months in the heat and be allowed only one three minute phone call home.
â€œThatâ€™s going to be pretty hard,â€ he said.
His parents have already been warned by officials that the one phone call may consist entirely of their son asking to quit.
Ryan, however, has no plans of quitting, no matter how hard the first few months are. He already knows he wants to major in nanotechnology, go to flight school for three years, be a pilot for two years and then commit to the military for life.
â€œI want to be a career pilot,â€ he said.
When he achieves this he will fulfill a dream he nursed as a child watching pilots fly with his grandfather.
â€œItâ€™s just a calling,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s something you know you wanted to do forever. Itâ€™s something you have to do.â€
by Sarah Grano