August 25, 2017 by Challenge Scholars Staff
Student Feature: Cody Garrison
When Kara Garrison first heard about the Challenge Scholars program, her son Cody was a fifth grade student at Harrison Park School. “It was the number one factor in sending him on to Westwood Middle School and now Union High School. I couldn’t wait to learn more about Challenge Scholars. It takes a huge load off of us and has really given him motivation,” she said.
Cody is now a freshman at Union and is very focused on the years ahead. “Challenge Scholars makes college so attainable. All you have to do is keep up with it,” Kara said. “I just have to stay on task—keep up my grades and stay out of trouble,” said Cody.
He’s admittedly a good student: “I pretty much like all of my classes.” He’s in four honors classes—English, history, biology and geometry. He’s also willing to help out his classmates and lead on a project when a leader is needed. “I want my classmates to succeed too,” he said.
Cody is interested in attending the University of Michigan after his graduation in 2020. “I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was really young, and I’d like to be a doctor. U of M has a hospital right there on campus. I’d like to help people and have a lot of variety in my work. Being a doctor would be different every day,” he said. He is also interested in criminal justice, and, with a college education, the world will be his to explore. Cody is a Union Redhawk football player—a freshman playing at the varsity level. He also plays basketball, wrestles and was recently accepted as a member of Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Youth Grant Committee. He’s also joined Union’s Junior ROTC.
Challenge Scholars Advisor Ben Oliver said, “What’s impressive about Cody is that he is dedicated to his sports, but also to his studies. He exemplifies the scholar-athlete.”
While Kara always wanted Cody to attend college, she wasn’t thinking too hard about how to pay for it while he was in elementary school, though she sensed that finances would be a roadblock. “I never put a whole lot of thought into it. Then Challenge Scholars came along, and now we’re looking at colleges, places I never heard of, and keeping a close eye on his grades. We need to keep his GPA where it needs to be,” she said.
Cody is adjusting to the fast pace at Union High School and likes not being treated like a kid anymore. “He’s confident in himself and that helps me,” Kara said.