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SWHS salutatorian wants to become doctor

Butler-bound Blake McClure said YouTube was his greatest supporter in becoming salutatorian of Southwestern High School.

“My parents never really knew how to help me with my homework and stuff, so every night in middle school, and elementary, and even high school, I’d go home and go directly to YouTube,” he said. “I’d look up ‘organic chem tutor,’ and all that stuff. So I guess my biggest supporter was YouTube.”

McClure’s parents couldn’t help him because his classes were hard – not something that everyone would know.

“I didn’t expect my parents to know how to do AP Calculus,” he said.

His parents, Nathan and Marty, did know how to support his academics by offering advice, motivation, and help with school projects and English assignments.

“My mom is really good at writing poems,” McClure said. “That’s her secret talent that I’m gonna reveal about her. She’s smart with words, and definitely helped me with language homework a lot when I was younger.”

His parents also supported him by transferring McClure from Waldron to Southwestern specifically because he wanted to take harder classes, he said.

“I just want to make sure I’m doing as best as I can to get the best grade possible,” he said. “And I don’t beat myself up if I don’t, because I know that I tried.”

McClure has never had to beat himself up anyway, because he’s never finished a course with any grade less than an “A-minus,” he said. The closest he came to a “B” was when he took Algebra II, which he attributed to the teacher working the class hard.

“I appreciated him though, because on the SAT, I went from like a 580 on the math to like a 680,” he said. “He was hard but it was worth it. I wish I still had him.”

Despite his success with his math courses, McClure will pursue biology at Butler.

“It all started when I was younger,” he said. “I loved science a lot, and when I got into high school, I started taking biology. I was like, ‘Oh, this is really cool.’ Especially when we examined blood and genetics and stuff like that.”

Biology intrigues him because there’s always something new to learn, he said.

“It’s not like math, where you know all the equations and you can do everything,” he said. “There’s always new discoveries.”

McClure aims to become a doctor someday.

He said he wanted to become a doctor because when he was in elementary school, he had a “really weird knee condition” that caused him to be around doctors all the time, and he began to look up to them.

“I had a lot of great doctors that made me feel comfortable and helped me understand what was going on with me,” he said.

His condition was called osteochondritis dissecans, which McClure described as a condition where the bone wears away at the joint. He said he adapted to the pain by limping, and even played basketball games with the limp.

“I thought it was growing pains,” the 6-foot-5-inch tall student said. “It was not growing pains.”

McClure doesn’t have this condition anymore, thanks to a surgery he had in elementary school.

His desire to become a doctor was strengthened when he interviewed a doctor in third grade for a homework project, he said. The doctor told him what his job was like and about the long education process of becoming a doctor.

“It is daunting, but I got a lot of motivation from him,” he said.

McClure picked Butler because he wanted to keep the same small-community feel that he got at Southwestern and have the “big city opportunities” that come with living in Indianapolis.

“I come from a small school and you get that small school feel at Butler,” he said. “Like, if I got tossed in a huge classroom, I wouldn’t know what to do.”

McClure said he has no plans to try and play for the Bulldogs’ basketball team because he isn’t sure if he would have time for it with all of his schoolwork.

“And also, I’m not that good,” he added. “I’m decent, but I’m not Butler-good.”

Although some of his family believed he would play, and told him they looked forward to seeing him on TV, he said.

“Somebody went around and told everybody that I was playing at Butler, and it’s so funny trying to tell them ‘No, I’m not!’” he said. “I think somebody is going around messing with me on purpose.”

McClure said he might play intramural basketball or track and field, “so I don’t gain the freshman fifteen (pounds),” but it will all depend on how much work he receives in his classes.

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