Senior Nate Pung’s time at Brandon High School was pretty standard – go to classes, go to practice, eat dinner, and then go to bed. But during that routine, Nate was learning just how much he liked the high school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program, “One of my best experiences was definitely the STEM program,” he said.
He then combined his STEM education with his love of country and qualified for the delayed entry program into the United States Marine Corps last June. He leaves for South Carolina’s Paris Island boot camp at Paris Island on June 21 with a goal to be a combat engineer, following in the footsteps of his father who is an Air Force veteran. He credits his Brandon High’s STEM program experience in helping him pick the job he wanted in the military. After a year of waiting, Nate is ready, “I just don’t know yet if I’m going to do 4 years or 20 years, just depends on how I like the military. Right now, the military is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life – to have the honor to serve my country.”
He is also grateful for his time as a linebacker for the Brandon High football team. “Our football community was great,” he said, “We created a community versus a team – I don’t feel a lot of schools have what we had.”
Nate’s biggest role model in his life as been his maternal grandfather “Papa Bryon” – who he describes as the coolest person I’ve ever met. “I feel like we are little bit of the same person,” says Nate. “He just has a positive outlook on everything. He’s kinda like the one person that is there for me no matter what.” And as Nate savors his last moments as a Brandon High student, he also takes the words of Papa Bryon with him to Parris Island - “Rich doesn’t’ mean money.”
Congratulations Nate and thank you for your service to our great country!