Senior enrolls full time at Akron


Joe Earl

Marcus Sawka poses at a University of Akron campus landmark.

Joe Earl, Reporter

Senior Marcus Sawka, a Revere High School student, wakes up at 8 am, takes his time eating his breakfast and completing chores, then heads to school by 10. Sawka may have attended Revere for his freshman, sophomore and junior years, but he now considers himself a University of Akron Student. 

Sawka runs several small businesses and helps his family with construction projects, all while keeping track of his vigorous college coursework. 

Sawka saw going to the University of Akron full time as a necessity for his success. He took CCP classes his junior year, but knew that the most effective use of his time would warrant spending his senior year at Akron. Sawka further explained his thought process.

“I was looking at my high school transcript and my requirements to graduate, [and] I already completed all the credits plus some more. So I decided I didn’t want to waste one more year at high school, I just wanted to go to college right away to start my engineering degree,” he said.

Before picking his classes at Akron, Sawka made use of, a website that clarifies what credits can carry over from one college to another. Deciding on Chem 1 and 2 and Calc 1 and 2, Sawka prepared for a difficult but productive year at Akron. 

Sawka has committed to The Ohio State University and plans to study chemical engineering next year. He explained why he felt chemical engineering was right for him. 

“I was always originally planning on doing mechanical engineering… I work on normal vehicles and dirtbikes and build barns. I’ve always been mechanically inclined. Last year, I was doing some research… You can do whatever you want with chemical engineering. I kind of just leaned towards chemical engineering because it’s more diverse,” he said.

Alongside his long term career aspirations, Sawka already runs two small businesses to keep him busy. Sawka mows lawns and landscapes around Richfield, while cleaning boats near his family’s lakehouse in Marblehead. He detailed how his mowing business started.

“It started when I was in eighth grade… [We] had to hand out fliers. [We] printed out 200 fliers and handed them out to every single mailbox in our neighborhood. And then [we] had to see who called back. We [also] do side jobs like mulching, hardscapes [and] planting grass,” he said.

Sawka came up with the idea when his parents told him he needed to earn money during high school as well as thrive academically. For him the choice was working at McDonalds or cutting lawns. Sawka explained his simple motivation for setting up the business.

“I decided I’d rather work on my own schedule, and do what I wanted to [do],” he said.

Alongside cutting lawns, Sawka also washes boats during the summer. This business came about more naturally, in a conversation with his neighbor. 

“He was talking about how bad of a job the [boat washing company] did that day. And I was kind of just joking, ‘oh, I can wash the boat for you next time if you want.’ Then the next day, he took it seriously and then called me and asked me if I wanted to wash it that day. Since then, we’ve been washing his boat. Then his neighbor wanted us to wash [their boat], then his neighbor, then his neighbor. So just a chain effect after the first one,” Sawka said.

Sawka wakes up early on Saturday mornings from early summer to the beginning of the school year to wash his neighbors’ boats. Although he could wake up later, he elects to wake up at 6 am so when his family wakes up at 9 am, he can spend time with them for the duration of the day.

Sawka’s family bought a lot in 2020 by their lake house and began work leveling the lot and raising it above the floodplain (generally flat area of land by a river or stream). Since then, Sawka’s immediate family has built three storage units on the lot. Sawka explained how the project came about. 

“It originally started [when] my dad was looking for a lot to store stuff. Then he thought he could make some money with it and went all in from there… The first one took about four months to build, with all ten [of us] working every weekend. . . We built it during the fall,” he said.

The experience came from Sawka’s father, who works in the construction industry. Sawka admitted that none of his family members had ever built a barn before, but their prior experiences with smaller projects expedited the process of learning how to build the storage container. 

Cameron Weir, a friend of Sawka, has known Sawka since he was a small child. Weir and Sawka lived across the street from each other and quickly became friends. 

“We were the same age and his brother was just a year older, so it was pretty easy to become friends. We would hang out outside… I did soccer with him for a little while and Boy Scouts and that sort of thing, so we had extracurriculars together,” Weir said.

Weir, having grown up with Sawka, explained what the Sawka family dynamic looked like from the outside. 

“I respected his family. They seemed [to be a] very motivated, hard working family. I would always see them doing yard work, [and] a lot of the kids, the boys, they babysat for a lot of families [in the area],” Weir said.  

Weir has spent a lot of time with Sawka throughout the years, both in and out of school. Weir elaborated on the strength of Sawka’s work ethic. 

“I’d say he has one of the better work ethics for high schoolers that I know of. He’s on top of things and not as much of a procrastinator as me and other people I know. He stays on top of things, [and] I think his mom influences him a lot with that. I think he has a strong work ethic whether it be school or actual labor,” he said. 

Weir respects Sawka and appreciates having him as a long time friend. Weir describes him as a “good friend” and a “family man,” while also labeling him as “very funny.”

Sawka’s family has played a huge role in cultivating Sawka’s maturity and hard working mentality. His often used phrase of “if you gonna’ do it, you gotta do it right” stands as a guiding light for how he tackles each obstacle that life throws at him. When asked, Sawka gave a glimpse of how his life as a child played into who he is today.

“Ever since I was a little kid, we never paid for people to cut down trees, we would never shift things off to get fixed… I’ve always just been working on stuff every day after school because my dad’s like, ‘you’ve got to fix this, you’ve got to fix that.’ Ever since kindergarten, my mom would always sit us down after school and force us to do [our] homework before we’d go outside. They always told me to work first, then after that [I could] play… They just don’t need to say it that much because I already know it now. It’s in me now,” he said.

Sawka takes advantage of entrepreneurial opportunities when he sees them but also gives back to his community. Sawka helps his lake house neighbor, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, in any way he can, oftentimes uncovering and covering his boat due to the degree of difficulty of the task for his neighbor.

Sawka’s enthusiasm towards work and his ability to rise to the challenge are his greatest assets for schoolwork. His large family of five siblings and his parents exemplify a hard working family that has turned Sawka into the person he is today.