He is ranked number three of his class, is the president of his senior class, is the Vice President for National Honor Society, and is a part of the golf and rocket team, and was Homecoming King for the school year. These are just a few of the many great things that Cleveland Shepard, IV, who is a senior attending Booker T. Washington High School has been doing throughout his high school journey. Upon graduating at the end of the school year, he looks forward to attending college to study architectural engineering. He has been accepted to over 12 colleges such as Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, North Carolina UNT, University of Memphis, Syracuse, Ithaca, and the University of Oklahoma just to name a few. He is leaning towards attending the University of Oklahoma as they have given him the most scholarships, and after a visit to the campus, he fell in love with the campus as a whole.
Architectural Engineering is truly a passion for Cleveland as he has been wanting to pursue this career for a long time now. He expressed, “When I was little I used to play with Legos, and would build different things outs of different objects.” He also made it known that he started analyzing buildings when he would walk into them. He would immediately look at the ceiling and analyze how the building was structured. Cleveland then started to talk to people about his building habits, and they informed him about architectural engineering. He also did additional research, and his heart has been set on this career ever since. Cleveland also had the opportunity to participate in a program that was offered at the University of Houston called Wonderworks. During his time in this program, he was able to build architectural models, create floorplans, and even learn a little bit about the history of building. One can say that it is destined for Cleveland to be an architectural engineer as his grandfather was an architect and owned an architect firm.
For Cleveland, success has not always been easy. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to where he is today. One challenge that he has had is balancing his school and work. One thing that has helped him over the years is knocking out his homework during school, so that after school, he could focus on his organizations and other things. In order to do this, he practiced time managing and sought after which schedule would work best for him.
Another challenge that he has been faced with is how some people would look down upon him because of his achievements and wanting to do better and strive for more. He stated, “Some of my friends and peers look down upon me because I don’t sag, and I don’t speak the regular way. Teachers who have taught for years are proud that society has produced a child like me, but also are wondering how they can get other students to be like me.” In spite of these obstacles, Cleveland continues to push through towards his goals.
One thing that continues to motivate him is his dad. He expressed, “My dad continues to motivate me as he has pushed me so hard and I get to see how everything is paying off.” His parents have instilled in him that he should “always do his best and to keep his eyes on the prize.” He is also motivated by some of the things he has witnessed or experienced. He noted that he has seen firsthand what going to college can do for a family from a financial perspective.
Cleveland is the epitome of excellence, and he is just getting started. He is looking forward to his next chapter, which is attending college, and would love the opportunity to study abroad. He illustrated, “I would like to study abroad because the more cultural experience I get with architecture and seeing different designs in different countries, and getting to experience something new, as I do research, it will be a great experience for when I go to a firm and put my work to use.”
Cleveland would like to dedicate this article to granny Maxine Shepard who is a retired teacher, and to his late grandfather Rev. C. Shepard, Jr. who was also an architect and owned his own firm.