Bloom graduate earns admission to U.S. Naval Academy
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com April 8, 2013 11:02PM
Toni Filby proudly displays a photo of her son Erick Schwering and his graduating class from the Naval Nuclear Power Training School at her house in South Chicago Heights, Illinois, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Her son was recently accepted into the US Naval Academy. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 10, 2013 6:02AM
For as long as he can remember, South Chicago Heights native Erick Schwering wanted to become an officer in the United States military.
After all, his two brothers are in the military, his father served in the military, and he participated in the ROTC while at Bloom Trail High School.
This fall, Schwering will take one big step toward fulfilling his goal by attending the elite, all-expenses-paid U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.
“I wanted to become an officer and I wanted to do it in a way that outshines everyone else,” Schwering, 20, said.
He was accepted into the academy in December, one month after he applied.
Having enlisted in the Navy after graduating high school in 2011, Schwering was studying at the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina when he found out about his acceptance.
“I went to the office of our counselor and he told me and I guess I couldn’t stop smiling for 10 minutes straight,” Schwering said. “I tried for it and it’s the biggest accomplishment of my entire life.”
According to Schwering, he plans to study electrical engineering while at the academy and participate in the school’s rifle drill team. Upon his graduation in 2017, he will owe six years to the Navy, and he plans to command a ship one day.
His mother, Toni Filby, said she cried when she heard the good news. She said Erick called her on the phone and asked her to sit down before telling her of his acceptance.
“Every parent wants to see their child achieve,” she said. “It was a pretty neat moment.”
Schwering said he thought about applying for the school while in high school, where he played football his freshman year and later joined the Mathletes and the chess club.
At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Schwering would have been likely welcomed on the football field by most coaches but his heart wasn’t in playing sports. He kept out of trouble, worked at the neighborhood Save-A-Lot and looked forward to joining the Navy.
“He liked football and all, but he liked things that exercised his mind more than his brawn,” Filby said.
Schwering is set to ship out for school at the end of summer. Before he leaves, he plans to stop by the family home and drop off everything he owns.
When he enters the prestigious academy, he is allowed to bring his own toothbrush and that’s about it.
“Now I’m ready and I’m waiting,” Schwering said. “I’m ready to take this on.”