SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Wemmer receives appointment to West Point

For Marshall Wemmer, athletics is just a building block in a foundation he’s laid for the long term.

A running back on the Permian football team, Wemmer also excelled in the classroom, earning valedictorian honors. The next step is not just a four-year stint at a good college, but an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, where he plans to study economics, followed by a five-year service commitment.

“It’s a five-year commitment, but I really want to do jump school and special forces,” Wemmer said, “so I might be in for 10 years, I might go career. I’m not sure yet.

“Assuming I do get out somewhat early, I want to go back to college. I’m looking at Ivy League and try to get my MBA.”

And whether he goes career military or opts for the business world, Wemmer said, the leadership skills he will continue to develop at West Point will be crucial.

“I think it’s going to give me a huge basis for life,” said Wemmer, whose appointment came from Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland). “It’s not just military experience. It gives you a foot in the door everywhere.

“That West Point degree is pretty well respected around the country. And not only that, but if you have skills in leadership to operate in a combat zone, you can operate in any area. If you can do it when people are shooting at you, you can do it when people aren’t.”

Among his other activities, Wemmer served as Treasurer this year on the Permian Student Senate.

“Marshall is a very well-rounded young man,” said Allen Jones, Permian’s Student Senate Advisor. “He’s a musician, an athlete and a scholar. His role in Senate was Treasurer, so he had to check our finances and enter them in the ledger. He did very well at managing his time.

“He’s grown as a leader this year just because he’s so involved in other things. The Senate gives you a good idea of civic service or community service, that you have to give back. It can’t all be just work for yourself. To be well-rounded, you have to work for others.”

Jones said Wemmer has shown himself more than capable of stepping up to such challenges.

“It takes that idea of being comfortable in your own skin to be able to commit to things that aren’t about you,” Jones said. “They commit to things about others. It’s a good level of commitment.”

Wemmer finished at the top of his eighth-grade class at Bonham Middle School, but pursuit of the top spot became much more competitive when he entered high school.

“I kind of expected it to be the same thing,” he said. “I was No. 8 when I got to Permian, but I got back up and I’m the valedictorian.”

The last two years in partiicular, with college prep courses and varsity athletics, became even more hectic, Wemmer said.

“It didn’t really get to me until my junior year, the whole balancing football and everything,” he said. I was on JV my sophomore year and that’s not as strict a load as varisty. But when I got moved up to the varsity my junior year, that’s when things started to get interesting. I was taking a full schedule and I was a year ahead in math, so I was taking calculus my junior year in a class with a bunch of seniors and I was taking AP statistics at the same time.

“Based off that, you could say math and science is more my strong suit. I don’t necessarily struggle in English. I enjoy history the most. It’s really interesting because there’s a lot to learn from history. As much as people don’t want to believe it, history does repeat itself. Not to get political, but a lot of what you see around our country is because people don’t realize that things like socialism didn’t work out in the past and they still want to install it in our country and it’s not going to work out.”

Making it all work, Wemmer said, sometimes required making tough decisions.

“I’ve had days where I’ve just had to weigh my losses,” he said. “If we got out of practice at 7 or 7:30, I’d go home and it’s like I have a minor grade due in English tomorrow but I have a major test in math. I’ll put that paper on the back burner and scribble something down in the morning, but I’ll devote most of my time to that test.

“It’s really just a balancing game. I’d have times where friends were going out to dinner so someone’s birthday, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to make this. He’s one of my best friends.’ I’ll be sitting there on my phone during dinner typing stuff in online trying to get my homework done.”

And Wemmer was hardly the only one on the football team facing such choices.

“Every Thursday, we’d have this thing at Andy Notley’s house called washers and go hang out and play games and stuff,” he said. “It’s not even just me.

“There’s always someone there with a computer doing homework in between games. All it is is having balls in the air and bringing them down and keeping them under control.”

Wemmer is scheduled to report to West Point on July 1. He said he’ll most miss the sense of community Permian enjoys.

“There’s nowhere else that has such a concentration,” he said. “You don’t see other places where they have high school stickers all over their cars. People here have Permian tags or Permian Mom. You see, like, Texas Tech Mom or those for colleges.

“I’ll be out of state somewhere and tell people I go to Permian High School and it’s, ‘Oh, the Friday Night Lights school?’ It’s just being a part of this amazing community that everyone knows about and everyone respects. I’m going to miss being a part of something as big as this.”