Center knows about hard work and sacrifice. The 27-year-old environmental sciences
major and Army National Guard member put his college plans on hold in
order to complete two combat tours in Afghanistan. His time overseas taught him
discipline, hard work and compassion.
“I have a new appreciation for
our way of life in the United States. Having lived in Afghanistan in a mud hut
with no electricity and no running water, I fully understand how lucky I am to
be able to go to college. Having seen what others endure just to make it
day-to-day makes me appreciate my opportunities,” said Center, who serves as a
His military benefits, including the GI Bill, have
covered a majority of his tuition and expenses.
Working toward a
bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences made sense to Center, a Rock Hill
native, as he loves being outdoors and working with children. “I wanted to teach
without grading papers,” he added.
He sought out an internship with
the city of Rock Hill’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism department
and that evolved into a paid position. “I lead kayaking trips down the
Catawba River and I also teach environmental education to elementary students and high
schoolers. We teach them about water quality, animal habitats, mapping and lots
more,” said Center. “It’s a really great job that involves my two passions – the
outdoors and teaching.”