This story appears in the Graduation 2019 special section.
Jake McTyre’s first day freshman year at Horizon Christian Academy was probably different than the typical one for a newcomer.
McTyre was just jumping into the K-12 private school on Sawnee Drive after attending Fideles Christian School for his middle school years, and at the beginning of the summer he knew only one other person going to Horizon.
That changed after McTyre joined the football team. During practices over the summer, McTyre got to know Horizon students from all grade levels. He ran with them, lifted weights with them, got tackled with them.
“It was cool to be a part of a team going in my first day,” McTyre said.
Sports continued to be an integral part of McTyre’s time at Horizon. He played football all four years and also tennis as a freshman and sophomore and soccer as a junior and senior. The soccer team was the state runner-up McTyre’s junior season.
McTyre recognizes he might not have had the opportunity to play three sports at a larger traditional high school.
“I’ve always enjoyed being on a team,” McTyre said. “It’s just fun. I love all the three sports I played. It was a huge part of high school for me.”
McTyre felt other benefits from Horizon’s smaller environment too. The pace of classes seemed to fit for every student, McTyre said, and when he was flummoxed by certain subject material, the small class size allowed teachers to provide more individualized attention.
McTyre found that especially helpful in AP calculus, he said. It’s not a subject that comes as naturally for him, but it helped that his soccer coach, Dr. Chung Lee, taught the class. Lee was always available to help students after he completed the teaching portion of class.
“Him willing to give us all the individual attention helped keep that class a pace that’s good for everyone so that they can all succeed and really understand what we’re doing,” McTyre said.
Between the classroom and soccer team, McTyre got to know that Lee “is the same easy-going, fun-loving guy everywhere he is,” McTyre said, but the senior got to know most of his teachers just as well.
“It’s like a small community; everyone knows everyone,” McTyre said. “That’s really been a neat experience.”
That’s partly because McTyre wasn’t afraid to take make the most of his time at Horizon, and he plans to do the same when he attends the University of Georgia in the fall.
“Just embrace the opportunities you have here,” McTyre said. “It is what you make it. Play sports, get to know people, really take advantage of that individual attention you’re going to get and build relationships with these people.
“That’s what I’ve done here, and I’m really glad I did.”