In a few months, Fort Mill High School senior Michael Petersheim will be one of about 12 combat illustrators in the Marine Corps.
That career, he said, was decided through teachers' encouragement and programs at his high school.
Combat illustrators portray an array of Marine activity, from drawing actual conflicts to sketching bases where they're stationed.
After moving from Florida, Petersheim entered ninth grade in 2005 as the new kid.
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Four years later, he said he made his best friends in ROTC.
Two of them will go to boot camp with him before Petersheim heads for his more specialized training.
“I love to draw. I'm very good at art,” he said, quickly adding, “That's what people tell me.”
He took advanced placement art this year, and he said his teacher, Judi Vokes, has encouraged him and helped him hone his skills.
He's been hired several times to draw portraits for “pocket change,” Petersheim said.
So when he was deciding what to do after high school, he looked for a way to blend the military with art.
“I just walked up to a recruiter,” Petersheim said. “He said, ‘I have the perfect job for you.'”
He will report for boot camp on June 29.
High school's biggest challenge has been a common one: “Doing the work,” Petersheim said.
His twin sister, Muriel, who will attend Winthrop University, is “the intellectual one,” he said. “She helps me a lot.”
As to whether he and Muriel are closer because they're twins, Petersheim said they're as close as any other brother and sister. “We don't wear the same clothes or anything,” he said, “but we live in the same house, drink the same water.”
But he said he was sure Muriel and the rest of his family would miss him when he reports for duty.
“I don't think my parents are particularly thrilled,” he said, “but they support me. They're very proud of me.”
Fort Mill High School
Year opened: Opened in 1930s on Confederate Street; assembled at Jones Branch Road for some time; Banks Street 1950-51, moved into the current building in 1986
Graduating class: 291
Commencement: 5 p.m. June 5 at Winthrop Coliseum
This year's highlights:
The Future Business Leaders of America had 14 winners at the state conference.
Fort Mill High School had six students attend South Carolina Boys State and three attend South Carolina Girls State.
The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship was awarded to 18 students.
The girls' soccer team played in the Upper State championship game.