It's no surprise that Cody McGraw wants to go into politics.
Well, it's somewhat of a surprise when anyone wants to go into politics.
But Cody's reason is no surprise to those that now him well.
Warren Area High School senior Cody McGraw
"I suppose it really comes down to wanting to change our country for the better," said McGraw. "I almost hate the term politics now, to be honest. I think that someday I could be a true loyal public official that truly serves our country; something many of our elected leaders seem to lack nowadays."
Whether he becomes a Congressman or not, the Warren Area High School senior has certainly shown an ability to lead and speak up (judging by his answers).
"I don't know how to describe him; he's just really driven in his own way," said his father. "I've always instilled in him to stand up for what you believe in."
And that's what he's doing at a young age.
A little "Q & A" with Cody McGraw:
Q: Who are your parents and siblings, and what sports do you play?
A: I am the son of Joseph and Angela McGraw and have two siblings, my brother Kelly, who is the oldest, and my sister Katie, who is the middle child. I also cannot forget to mention my lovely sister-in-law Sara and my 22-month-old nephew Lennon.
I participated in football ever since I joined the youth league in the third grade, and was fortunate enough to play on the Warren High varsity team from my sophomore year on. This winter I decided to try something very new to me and join the swim team, but have played basketball every year prior to this one since first grade. Who knows what the spring sports season may bring.
Q: I would ask you if you think you're a leader, but it's obvious in the fact you are class president, a junior city councilman, as well as being a football team captain. But tell me how all of these things have helped you become a better leader?
A: My idea of being a leader is someone who believes what they do to lead should be based solely on the premise of what is best for everyone. I feel that many of our political leaders in today's world have strayed far from this concept and, as a result, do a poor job representing the very people who chose them to lead.
Each of the positions I have been fortunate enough to hold have played a major part in my defining of a leader, especially having been a senior captain on the Warren High football team this year. The reason being is that a successful football team is, in any way you look at it, a team sport and by no means the result of individual effort.
Filling the role of captain taught me to always look out for what was best for every single one of my teammates regardless of how well they performed on the field or what they were capable of. I feel this translates extremely well into performing as a successful and deserving leader in everyday life. And, of course, my spot as Co-President of my class and Junior Councilman to the City of Warren also require me to be vocal to the interests of everyone I represent.
Q: What are all the activities you are involved in outside of sports and why do you participate in each of them?
A: Aside from sports I have participated in Mock Trial, National Honors Society, the Student Representative to the School Board, was on Prom Committee, a member of History Club, and twice went on the Pittsburgh project mission trip though the First United Methodist Church. Mock trial is something I enjoy because being a lawyer down the road is something I have not ruled out. Being on the school board was another opportunity to do my best to advocate for the best interests of all the students I represented at Warren.
The most important in my opinion of all the activities I have ever been involved in would be The Pittsburgh Project. For those who don't know what it is, The Pittsburgh Project is a mission trip that takes kids from all ends of the country through sponsorship of a church and sends them to those less fortunate homeowners that have some type of home improvement drastically needed in order to be able to function.
Q: Why swimming? And, once you answer that, I understand you go all out at swim practice... Never having been a swimmer before, and probably not a state championship contender, why do you go all out?
A: Choosing to join the swim team this year was a decision that by no means came easily to me. I wasn't sure what to expect of it or whether or not it would be worth my time. But I knew that it would help teach me discipline in many ways and because of that and the efforts of Brad Walters to recruit me, I decided that it would be a good idea. As for why do I "go all out," I can never just go through the motions when doing something, whether it be athletically or academically (though I am sure some teachers would object.) I firmly believe the saying "you are only as strong as your weakest link" holds true in reference to sports time and time again.
Q: The football season is over, but you probably had the time of your life. Tell me, specifically, one or two things you think you'll always remember from the magical turnaround season.
A: I couldn't have asked for a better season to finish my career playing football. I already miss playing the game and playing with all the kids I grew up with every day.
Of all the memories from this year, I would say that the one which lingers the most in my mind comes from week five, our Homecoming game, against Oil City.
With something around three seconds to go before halftime, Oil City is getting ready to kick a field goal. I can just remember thinking to myself, 'if only we could block this and take it back to the house.' In the blink of an eye, the unthinkable happened. Austin Jerman proved himself to not only be a phenomenal quarterback, but also a phenomenal field goal blocker, rushing through the line and deflecting the kick. Before I knew it the ball had deflected off of Mark Davis' head and made its way into Jordan Willetts' hands. From here on out it was a done deal, I mean, give Jordan a football and one guy to beat in open field and your nine times out of 10 going to get a touchdown. It really was too good to be true, but thankfully it happened.
The only other memory I would like to add to that, or a feeling rather, was the way I felt being lined up for kickoff in the first round of the District 10 playoffs against Conneaut. When that whistle blew to signify the start of the game and I took my first step forward, I obtained this unexplainable feeling in my stomach that seemed to make time freeze. It is a feeling I may very well never experience again, one I miss more and more each day.
Q: What do you want to do after high school? College?
A: I definitely plan on attending college. I have applied many universities and should I get accepted would rank Penn State and Temple to the top of my list. I am constantly second guessing what my major should be, something I am pretty sure 99 percent of all high school seniors do, but am significantly interested in obtaining a Civil Engineering degree. I may even decide to enroll in law school somewhere down the road.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: In 10 years I hope to begin starting a family wherever life leads me through my college years. I have always had the fantasy of running for Congress at an early age also, so perhaps that may be where I am.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My close family members inspire me in many ways, but there are two figures I would like to explain; the first being my grandpa Blair. He has taught me countless lessons in life that I know will always prove valuable. I have formed an unusual bond with him that many of my friends don't understand; in many ways he is my true best friend. I am so grateful for all he has ever given me and shown me, and of course for putting up with me more than he probably bargained for.
The second figure is more of an idol that I have come to admire over the years, Robert F. Kennedy. I love all the Kennedy brothers but he is by far my favorite. He was essentially killed because he stood for what he believed in and knew was right. His life has taught me to always speak out where an injustice is shown regardless of the consequences. In my opinion he would have made one of our countries best presidents had he not been assassinated on the campaign trail.
Q: Tell me something not many know about you that you'd be willing to share.
A: Aside from my family and closest friends, not many know that I enjoy more than anything going to my grandparents' house out in the middle of nowhere and living the farmer's life. My favorite time to spend there is in the summer, when I may disappear from Warren for weeks at a time and do my best to lose contact with everyone who is not in close proximity with me.
My grandpa and I always keep busy there, I often find myself building things, riding horses, cutting hay, fishing, helping my brother out with his, as he puts it, "hunters' paradise" (or almost), and finishing those little projects for my grandma that grandpa has no interest in and she can never get to do.
Every moment I am there I feel truly at home and will cherish every single memory I have created while spending time on the farm for the rest of my life.
Q: Tell me one question I forgot to ask, and then answer it.
A: What do you feel your goals in life are?
To be adventurous and to conquer the world (in a non-political way). By the time I get ready to die, I want to have said I climbed mountains, jumped out of planes or parachuted off cliffs, toured the great pyramids, rafted down dangerous rivers, spent a week living with Buddhist monks (why not?), and doing or participating in all those crazy adventures that life has to offer.
All of these features were put here for a reason, and enjoying them all, I believe, will really keep me true to the inner-kid at heart for my entire life. Disconnect a man from his inner heart and all he has left is what society makes of him.