Alumnus Zachery Taylor can’t wait to show off his Tidewater Community College sweatshirt on The Lawn in Charlottesville.

“TCC has truly given me a second chance and allowed me to reach my full potential,” he said. “I’m forever grateful and will always love this college.”

After two years at TCC, Taylor will transfer to the University of Virginia, where he will be a junior this fall. He’s taken a circuitous route to get there.

After high school, Taylor planned to be a Navy SEAL, a dream since childhood. Given a rare medical condition that affects his left eye — Duane syndrome, which prevents outward movement of the eye, Taylor navigated the bureaucratic process with even more detail than normal. He got the green light, only to be told two weeks into training, he was not eligible to pursue any special warfare jobs.

It was a major blow, as Taylor spent nearly two years trying to ensure he would be medically cleared to do so.

“After that I didn’t know what I was going to do,” said Taylor, who ultimately decided higher education was the answer. “I really wanted to go to U.Va., but I didn’t have the grades from high school.”

Taylor enrolled at TCC and followed the program for the Associate of Science in Social Sciences. He was surprised by how much he enjoyed the classroom experience. “At TCC, there were all different ages, different colors, different mindsets, and I loved that,” he said. “I loved the diversity of being able to talk to somebody next to me in a political science class who’s been in the workforce for 20 years. That brings great ideas into the classroom.”

Planning a major in foreign affairs at Virginia, Taylor is spending the summer working for his uncle, Scott Taylor, seeking a congressional seat. Scott Taylor represents the Kempsville and Town Center areas of Virginia Beach in the House of Delegates.

Zachery Taylor was also accepted at Old Dominion University and is awaiting word from Georgetown University, but his heart is set on Virginia. “It was an amazing feeling,” he said, opening the official acceptance letter a few weeks ago.

“I truly believe in ‘go here go anywhere,’ as I am a living example of this,” Taylor said. I will proudly wear my TCC sweatshirt in Charlottesville next year.
 

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