Century graduate Robert Martin truly enjoyed his four years as a Century Knight.
“Yes I’m excited to move on, but I’ve loved Century,” he said, later adding, “I just think it’s an overall great atmosphere.”
But despite enjoying his time in high school, Martin, of Sykesville, has his sights set toward the future as the end of June approaches.
In less than one month, the June 5 Century High School graduate will move across the country to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Martin will be the first in his family to enter the service, but it’s always been something he’s been interested in, he said.
“I’ve always loved the whole military lifestyle,” Martin said. “I knew that in the future I wanted to serve.”
For seven of his eight semesters at Century, Martin was apart of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, holding a number of positions during his time there.
While some people may ask when in the real world they’ll use something they’ve learned in school, Martin said he never wondered that about his JROTC training. Everything he’s learned he has either used — or is currently using — in his life, he said.
“It’s a … program that’s just helped me along the way to be who I am,” Martin said.
While JROTC is a military-structured class, it’s not a military class and instead is a leadership and education training course, he said. The motto is all about motivating young people to be better citizens, he said.
JROTC teaches people to be better leaders and also about the importance of giving back to people not only in school, but also in the community, Martin added.
His time in the program was something that helped him to decide on his future at the Air Force Academy, he said. The goal is to go on to pilot school and become a fighter pilot after attending the Air Force Academy, Martin added.
“It’ll be a new experience, but I’m excited,” he said.
Martin said he doesn’t feel nervous, now, but expects that could change a day or two before he leaves. But he knows it’s the right choice, and said his family is supportive.
“They know that where I’m going — it’s just a really incredible place for young people like me,” he added.
Heading to the Air Force Academy isn’t just about training for Martin — he’ll also be playing baseball there, something he’s done for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve been playing baseball … I don’t even remember the first time. I was probably 4 years old — 4 or 5 years old maybe. I’ve been playing ever since,” Martin, who is a pitcher and first baseman, said.
He’s played both on recreational teams and travel teams, and right now plays on the American Legion Senior Team as well as Century’s varsity team, though he injured his shoulder this past spring.
Martin heading into the service is something that just makes sense — it fits him, Buck Ferrin, a teacher at Century and Martin’s advisory teacher for four years said. Martin was a battalion commander in JROTC for two years, he said.
“He is a very quiet leader. He leads by example but also by expectations,” Ferrin added.
In addition to JROTC and baseball, Martin was in the National Honor Society and the NationalMath Honor Society. And outside of school, he did all he could to give back.
Martin said he was involved in KEEN — Kids Enjoy Exercise Now — an organization that worked with kids with physical and intellectual abilities. Twice a month on Sundays, he said he volunteered to work one-on-one with these kids at a park or playground to get them out playing and exercising.
He’s also done a lot in baseball programs at camps and even coaching teams.
“It’s taught me a lot, that everybody’s different,” Martin said of his time giving back to the community.
In high school, he said, people tend to always stick to people who are just like them. In growing up and taking part in these activities, Martin said he’s learned to change that.
“I think I’ve become — in my perspective — a better person,” he said.
Ferrin’s seen that growth, too. To Ferrin, Martin has gone from a goofy kid to a man.
“I’ve gotten a chance to see Robbie from his weird little freshman moments to [being] quite the gentleman he is now,” Ferrin said.
And while he also taught him in a chemistry class, Ferrin said he and Martin bonded over the years in advisory. Martin is “extremely mature” for his age,” Ferrin said.
“He understands the big picture very well,” Ferrin said. “He’s almost like a peer in his understanding of what’s going on in the world.”
Ferrin said Martin is an “amazing kid” with a lot of potential. He turned down attending Yale to go into the service, and Ferrin said he can’t wait to see the difference he will make in the world.
“I think he’s going to make big things happen,” Ferrin said.