Navigating Life

Junior Remains Grounded While Soaring High

Junior Brandon Parrish has a lot on his plate.

He holds positions such as junior class president, member of StuCo’s Energy and Environment committee, varsity football player, ROTC color guard, NHS member, pilot in training, and ROTC’s first Commanding Officer as a junior.

When asked if it’s difficult to juggle all of the activities, Parrish seems surprised that is even a concern.

“Honestly, it seems like I get this question all the time, like people ask me, ‘Why do so much?’ and I just straight up tell them, ‘I love what I do; I enjoy what I do and it pays off,’” Parrish said.

Being Commanding Officer puts Parrish in a special role with many new responsibilities, but after being academic team captain last year, he understands the impact of his decisions this year.

“Last year I was a part of the officer staff, so I attended meetings but I wasn’t able to make decisions for the better of the whole unit,” Parrish said. “That’s quite a responsibility because every decision myself and the staff make affects every single person in the program.”

Everything Parrish is involved in has a place in his plan for life, preparing him for skills he will need later.

Eighth grade year I knew what I was going to do, knew the plan  for my life; it’s been working out perfectly since then,” Parrish said. “I really want to play football at the naval academy and major in aeronautical engineering there, and then commission to the Navy as an officer and fly F-18s for the Navy, hopefully carriers, and then retirement: hopefully be a test pilot for Lockheed. I’ve had that dream since 8th grade.”

The dream to be a pilot comes from even earlier in his life, which he will complete once he turns 17.

“[My father] got stationed in Fort Worth right before I was born and when I was about five he took me to my first airshow,” Parrish said. “When I saw it for the first time, I knew right then I really wanted to fly planes,” Parrish said.

Parrish worked to finish all other requirements to become a pilot, attending ground school during the spring of his sophomore year and practicing flying over the summer with his grandfather’s plane.

“You have a ground school portion which is  basically etiquette of being a pilot, all the rules,” Parrish said. “It’s really strict- there’s a book bigger than the bible of rules and regulations and everything to know, everything besides being in an actual airplane.”

With so much to look forward to, Parrish is set on having a good year.

“What probably drives me the most is to be distinguished for ROTC which is a huge accomplishment for me and to also experience a change in this next football program,” Parrish said. “[In the past], usually everyone would point fingers and say, ‘Why’d you do this blah blah blah’ but after the first game on [this year’s] team I felt like we didn’t experience any separation whatsoever and I think we’ll have, if not a successful year, at least growth in the program.”

Parrish’s success does not come only from talent; the support from friends, family, and mentors, coupled with Parrish’s attitude, colors the portrait of his life.

I’m fortunate to have all these opportunities – being involved in everything I am, to be gifted and have all this knowledge,” Parrish said. “One of my favorite things involving my personality is that I like to bring the fun into things and so if someone is having a bad day, I like to be that smiling face.”