by Rohan Sharma

As seniors approach the culmination of their high school years, they await the coveted moment of graduation. For many, this accomplishment required four years of hard work, but others have faced further hardships along the way.
Senior Jake McClintock has overcome enormous obstacles throughout his high school years, but he never lost his motivation to succeed.
“I had open heart surgery my freshman year,” said McClintock. “I was out of school for two months and maintained my grades the whole time.”
Despite issues with his health, McClintock sought to make education his priority. After each success, he set higher standards for himself.
“Dealing with my heart problem has been tough, but I continued to work hard. Ever since sophomore year I’ve maintained above a 3.0,” said McClintock. “Having the surgery gave me the motivation to go further. If I can get through that, I can get through anything.”
Juggling an education along with medical problems may be a daunting task, but McClintock sought to pursue athletics as well. His engagement in sports drove him to greater academic heights.
“I’ve played varsity track for four years as a shot-putter and disk thrower. Sports have always motivated me to get good grades. All my hard work has paid off through school and sports. If I fail, I’ve failed myself.”
Ever since his childhood, McClintock faced hurdles while attempting to achieve his goals. In spite of others discouraging him from higher education, he continued to strive for success.
“Graduation is very exciting for me. An elementary school teacher of mine said I wouldn’t even get to graduation, but now I’m about to get my high school diploma.”
Aided by those close to him, McClintock understands the roles others have played in his accomplishments. He values their efforts and realizes that much of his success would not have been possible without their help.
“My family and friends have given me such good support; they’re the ones who have gotten me this far.”
Physical education teacher James Forni has witnessed McClintock’s drive both in and out of the classroom. Understanding the obstacles he’s faced, Forni realizes McClintock’s tremendous efforts.
“Jake has always worked hard. He tries his best and doesn’t say never or can’t,” said Forni.
Reaching this point has been a long road for most seniors, and as one who has had to face particularly challenging circumstances, McClintock wishes to impart his advice to others wishing to graduate: “Don’t slack off, don’t get behind, and have fun while you’re at it.”
The Petaluma community continues to provide support to aspiring high school students; McClintock recognizes the importance of investing in this valuable network, thus he wishes to pursue a career of public service.
“I’m going to the JC after I graduate. I’m going to do track there and take classes to get into the police academy. My ultimate goal is to become a police officer.”