Staying grounded with a dream to design airplanes

Goliad Principal, Brandon Enos nominated Justin Swize for the Texas Association of Secondary Schools Principals Teens Serving Texas. TASSP represents 1400 high schools across the state of Texas. Established in 1922, its purpose is to build an active network of educators that want to take responsibility for the quality of school leadership. Justin was one of five students selected from across the state for his volunteer efforts. Justin's accomplishments highlighted by TASSP included his work with Weesatche 4 Warriors, Goliad Relay for Life, Boy Scout Troop 60, St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Goliad National Honor Society and the Traveling Vietnam Wall, where he volunteered and played Taps. Mr. Enos stated he has nominated students numerous years as a principal and this is the first time he had a student win the award. Justin is a 2020 graduate of Goliad High School where he graduated 3rd in his class. He will be attending Texas A&M University, studying engineering. (Contributed photo)

GOLIAD – One day, that plane soaring high over Goliad might just be designed by Justin Swize.

But first, this Goliad high grad and winner of the Texas Association of Secondary Schools Principals, Teens Serving Texas award, is headed to Texas A&M to earn his aerospace engineering degree.

“Hopefully I can work for an airline company ... designing new aircraft,” he said.

Swize has left his mark on this town, most notably with his work as a Boy Scout while earning his Eagle Scout badge.

That project still stands at the high school — a rainwater collection station that feeds the plants in the green house.

“It gravity feeds into the green house that is down the hill from the ag building,” he said. “It is still up there.

“It is probably still full since students have not been in class.

“During the summer, they are not watering the plants as often either,” he said. “Plus no one is there because of COVID-19.”

It took him about a year of work to earn Eagle Scout.

“I started this project in my eighth-grade year,” he said. “I was at the San Antonio Stock Show, and I spoke to some people with the San Antonio Rainwater Conservation Organization.

“They had a demonstration of a water collection system. I really started looking, and I liked the idea. I wanted to bring it to Goliad.

“I felt like the high school was a great place for it because it was a teaching experience as well.”

That dedication to his school and city are in part why he was selected to receive the statewide community service award.

Brandon Enos, high school principal, said that knowing all the volunteering Swize has done over the years, including playing “Taps” when the replica Vietnam Memorial Wall arrived, made him an easy choice.

“He does so much,” Enos said. “If I was to ask myself which student serves the community and other students the most, Justin Swize is the first person to come to mind.”

“I felt like he had a really good chance of winning,” Enos said. “You want it to be your student. That is the reason you spend the hours filling out the paperwork.”

The judges agreed with Enos.

“They saw what I saw,” the principal said. “He was head and shoulders above the others in terms of serving his community and putting others before himself.”

The $500 scholarship that comes with this award will be put to good use in college.

“Any money that comes my way is appreciated,” Swize said.

Heading to College Station this fall, Swize is going to study aerospace engineering — a degree that ties his favorite subjects of math and science. It is worth noting that as a scout he earned both his engineering and aviation merit badges.

“I just loved the idea of it,” he said learning to design planes. His selection of this college was in part because of its reputation in that field of study but also part tradition. Both his sisters attended A&M-College Station, earning their degrees.

He knows Goliad likely will never be a hub for airline design, but hopes to one day find a job in a city “where I can have a nice career and enjoy the sense of pride that is found in a small town.”

Jason Collins is the editor at the Goliad Advance-Guard and can be reached at 361-343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.

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