Aiken Technical College
"I've always liked to take things apart, learn how they work and fix them, so the industrial maintenance program at Aiken Tech felt like a good match for me."
My name George Lucas Blackmore. In high school, my grades were all over the place. When I graduated, I attempted to join the military, but I was overweight at the time. I lost the weight and got most of the way through Coast Guard basic training before getting injured. That injury resulted in me failing the PT portion of the test. I got discharged, but they said I could come back. I spent a whole year trying with no progress. My parents and I even got our congressman involved to try to expedite the process, but no luck.
After that, I went to work as a temp. I did that for a year before deciding to go to Aiken Tech. I looked at a few programs to see what I would like and chose the industrial maintenance program. I’ve always liked to take things apart, learn how they work and fix them, so the program felt like a good match for me. My mom was the one who told me about the Technical Scholars Program, which I’m doing right now.
When you graduated high school, what did you think your next step would be?
I decided on going into the military during my junior year in high school, which is when I started working on my weight loss. I took the ASVAB and scored well. I was in JRTC, and my instructor even tried to help me get a RTC scholarship. That didn’t work out because my grades weren’t the best at the time.
How did you settle on technical college after the military didn’t pan out?
My mom’s a nurse, so she went to a two-year school. I like taking things apart and putting them back together to see how they work, so I thought why not make that my job.
Six months into working with Kimberly-Clark, I decided I wanted to go back to school. I started looking at both Aiken Tech and the University of South Carolina Hagen campus. I knew I didn’t want to do the work I was doing at Kimberly-Clark for the rest of my life. I wanted to do something I actually enjoy doing.
What have you overcome on your journey? And what did you learn from it?
Working to lose all my weight for the Coast Guard, and getting in there and pushing myself to the point I got hurt. I still wanted to do it, my body just couldn’t do it. One thing that the Coast Guard taught me is if you’re going to do something, put your all into it. When I was in high school, I was making As, Bs and Cs. I have a 4.0 GPA in college, and I’m making sure to maintain it.
What advice do you have for others considering their next step?
Look at what you want to do. A four-year school is not for everyone and a two-year school is not for everyone. Every person is different. Think about what you really want from your school.