Derek Ferguson’s next step in his education will allow him to chase two of his passions: lacrosse and a career in logistics.
Ferguson, who is graduating this month from Riverside Military Academy, will be heading to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., this fall.
He is looking forward to playing lacrosse for the Division III school after four seasons of lacrosse at Riverside, where he was a captain as a senior.
After he started school at Riverside in eighth grade, his sister convinced him to try lacrosse. He dove into the sport in ninth grade.
“I learned a lot really quickly. I played in a lot of games because we didn’t have much depth on the team,” Ferguson said. “So it was kind of trial by fire.”
A defender in lacrosse, Ferguson called the sport “a lot of fun.”
“You run fast and you hit people with a long stick,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson will study maritime logistics and security at the Merchant Marine Academy. He credited teacher Capt. Mark Rinehart with helping him realize logistics would make the most sense for him to pursue with his skill set.
The Newnan native said he hopes to eventually be part of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. It’s a largely civilian workforce that deals with navigation, maintenance of emergency equipment and refueling and resupplying of ships.
“I feel like that’s a good balance of me trying to explore the world and go see what I want to see without the complete and total structure of the military,” Ferguson said.
His dream is to end up in the Pacific so he can visit family in the Philippines and see Japan.
He is looking forward to spending 300 days at sea both during his sophomore and junior years.
Ferguson has taken part in the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Hall class and also has learned leadership from many of his activities at Riverside. He is the executive officer of the Corps of Cadets, second in command of 540-student Battalion of Cadets and is in charge of planning and coordinating major events on campus.
He said Riverside has taught him how to carry himself and do the right things.