Updated: April 28, 2014 at 9:58 am
This is the seventh of 20 profiles about The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2014.
Sean Cleary's middle name is Michael, but it could easily be Leader - with a capital L.
As captain of the Pine Creek High School varsity soccer team, Cleary led the team to its first 5A state championship last fall. He has served as captain of the team since his freshman year and earned the team's leadership award - determined by coaches and players in 2011. He has organized schoolwide toy drives for Christmas Unlimited, served as an officer in DECA and was selected to represent his high school at the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Seminar.
Cleary said his ability to step up is attributed to the many moves he has made as the son of Air Force parents; he also credits their love and support.
"I used to be super shy. I think because of the many new environments I was in, I grew from being a really shy kid to someone who feels more confident," he said. "I'm not sure I could pick a certain time that it happened."
Soccer and Scouting were two constants during the seven relocations Cleary made with his family.
"Even though I had moved around so much, Boy Scouts was a main place for me everywhere we lived," he said.
He added that because of the support he received in Scouting, it was important for him to give something back. Since attaining the rank of Eagle, Cleary remains active with his troop, mentoring younger Scouts.
He plans to attend Fort Lewis College and has earned a spot on the school's soccer team. His long-term goal is to become a doctor. Once at Fort Lewis, Cleary said he sees himself getting involved.
"I definitely want to do as much as possible and take advantage of the opportunities when I'm there," he said.
He explained that he doesn't just jump in to take over. Rather, he said he analyzes the situation.
"It's a process of determining what's needed," Cleary said. "Sometimes I'm a leader and sometimes a follower. You really can't have one without the other. I know that even though leaders are the ones who get recognized at the podium, they can't do it alone."
PINE CREEK HIGH SCHOOL
Parents: Robert and Karen Cleary
College plans: Fort Lewis College, major in biology
Other: English National Honor Society; National Honor Society; Spanish National Honor Society; Eagle Scout; varsity soccer team captain; Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship finalist; 4.449 GPA