The 18-year-old senior at Spanish Springs High School admitted he did not care about school during his first couple years. Skipping classes quickly turned into losing credits and falling off track for graduation before Syfers was able to assess the damage.
“I really started to fall off because I didn’t really think it mattered,” Syfers said. “When I got to my junior year, it really became clear that I needed to think about what I was going to do with my life.”
Problems with fighting outside of school forced Syfers to think deeply about his future and before he approached his counselor for help he needed some self discovery.
“I started thinking about it and realized I needed this and I needed to step up in life and be a better person. I need to graduate high school,” Syfers said. “I want to have a good life. I want to have a family, support them and have a good life.”
Syfers admitted he was a little tentative to ask his counselors and teachers for help, but he was able to find spots in multiple credit recovery classes and get back on track to graduate. Syfers has finished his proficiency exams, gathered his remaining credits and now helps as an aid for the teachers who have helped him most.
“Math was the only proficiency that I didn’t pass and trying to pass that test was really hard,” Syfers said. “I took math camps last year and those really helped me, and the teacher I am a student aid for is a math teacher. So she was able to help me as well.”
Syfers now focuses on a senior schedule and has excelled in his art classes, particularly in drawing. He said his passion for drawing only surfaced this year and he added that he enjoys putting things he sees into his own perspective.
Syfers wants to put his artistic talents to use after high school when he plans to attend the Art Institute of Las Vegas to study graphic design. Before that goal is launched, however, Syfers will join the Marines for a four-year tour, which he says is “following in the footsteps” of his family.
“It clicked in my head that I need to do something to go further in life and that is what sparked the military idea,” he said. “I wasn’t sure which branch until I started talking to my grandpas, who were both in the Marines. I am actually excited for boot camp because it will push me to strive to do better.”
Syfers said returning from the military and having money for school was a major influence in his decision to sign up. He said being able to study new ways to further his art abilities was very exciting.
“I want to create the characters in the games or get into a business where I can draw characters and really bring them to life in the computer,” he said.
Reflecting on his time in high school, both the good and the bad, made Syfers realize how much his teachers, counselors and surrounding cast have meant to his graduation possibilities. He said crossing the stage to receive his diploma will be the pinnacle of his high school career.
“My teachers really helped me get through school,” Syfers said. “Teachers like Ms. Schmidt have helped me a lot because whenever I would need help, she would talk me through it and always be there for me. The administrators at this school continued to push me to graduate.
“What I am most proud about is finally graduating and finally stepping up to do better. When I set my heart to something that is what I do and it makes me feel better as a person. When I accomplish something it makes me feel like I am worth something and I think that was my biggest accomplishment.”