Warren County resident Gage Gardner is a high achiever.
He graduated from WCHS one year early and now the 17-year-old is preparing to serve his country in the U.S. Army. Gardner is scheduled to leave this Tuesday for basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C.
“The Army told me they don’t get many people who join at 17,” said Gardner. “One of the requirements is you have to graduate from high school and most people don’t graduate until they’re 18.”
With the permission of his mother, Jamie Farnsworth, he was able to enlist at 17. Gardner made a four-year commitment.
“I’m stressed about it and I worry something might happen,” said Farnsworth. “But at the same time, I didn’t want to hold him back. He’s a real go-getter. His dream is to go out and see the world and do something more.”
Gardner was supposed to still be in high school and preparing to graduate this May. But he accelerated his classwork and graduated one year early with the class of 2014.
While in high school, he was an active member of the JROTC program. He was named Cadet of the Year in 2013 and was also on the winning two-person team during the year-end Raider competition. The Raider challenge combines an obstacle course, map reading and other military-type skills into one event.
When asked about his drive to succeed, Gardner says many people are surprised by his motivation as a 17-year-old.
“A lot of my peers, they are pretty relaxed but I’ve never been that way,” said Gardner. “This seems natural to me. I get more out of things if I try harder. I want to set up my life to have a good life and I see the military as a stepping stone to better things.”
Gardner says he doesn’t see the military as being a permanent career at this point. He would like to work toward a career in federal law enforcement like the FBI or DEA. He also says he would like to study law and is considering options in politics.