This is quite a record for anyone, but for Eric Wolf, it’s the substance of a dream since he was in middle school. A student at McCallie School since the seventh grade, Wolf has been preparing for a career in the military. Both grandfathers, he said, were in the military — one a Marine and the other is a World War II veteran.
Wolf will begin his training this month with “Plebe Summer” — the six or seven weeks of basic training by upper classmates. The purpose is to build up as a team player. “If I can pass this summer test,” Wolf said, “I can go anywhere for sure.”
In not only preparing academically for Annapolis, he said, “the training stresses the whole person — helping in every way possible.” And he’s expecting it to be really difficult.
Wolf said he was challenged in this direction when he read “Lone Survivor,” the story of a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He said he felt it was the hand of God in choosing that book when “Mom handed the book to me.”
He said reading it made him look at what he was doing to serve and he asked, “What will I give back?” as he thought about his loving family and the opportunity to attend a good school. He said he knows his parents are proud of him ... “probably would have been happier for me to go to a school other than military.” But, he added, “they know what I’m doing.”
Wolf grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. Dr. Steven Wolf and his family moved to Cleveland 10 years ago. “My father wanted a smaller practice,” Eric explained, and he decided to move to Cleveland.
He has three older sisters, and said it was hard to explain to them about his desire to be in the military. “They’re not happy,” he said, “but they’re really supportive and very compassionate.” And his younger sister, too, is an important part of his life. He said his sisters “expect quite a lot from me.”
He said his family is really close and enjoy being together. And everything he has learned in life started in the household. “(They) have done a great job, he added, attributing this to his parents’ strong marriage — “greatest I know.” He said his family is the strongest part of his life and he feels extremely blessed to be a part of it. “I have achieved everything through my family and McCallie.”
Wolf says he appreciates the opportunity he had to be able to go to McCallie School. Being a member of the McCallie athletic team, Wolf said, helped him to build a work ethic.
He said his coaches had a positive effect on his life. “We were pushed to the limits and beyond,” he said. “They knew when to teach and when to encourage and I was better because of their guidance,” he said.
Wolf was in track and football. In addition to 10 varsity letters, this year, he won the prestigious Stephen Athletic medal — best all-around as voted by coaches. He also received the Campbell award which epitomizes McCallie men voted by the student body.
Wolf attends Broad Street United Methodist Church and said he loves going there and wishes he could stay. “The direction the church is going is fantastic,” he said, “and I am growing in faith there.”
For fun — more than for educational purposes, Wolf said — he took a trip to France recently. However, he did take a day trip to Normandy to see the American cemetery. “It helped shed a lot of light on the American involvement in World War II,” he said. “When you learn about it in school, you hear about D-Day, The Battle of the Bulge and the peace. But what you seldom understand, he continued, “is that the Allied infantry fought from the French coast to the German capital in Berlin, all on foot, with the risk of being killed every day.”
Wolf said the scope of the American sacrifice truly hits you when you see those 10,000 white crosses and understand they represent only a fraction of those who fell or were wounded in the war.
Induction day for the McCallie graduate is June 27, reporting at 8 a.m. for indoctrination. He said he knows “it will be the worst and the best experience of life, but a growing opportunity.” And after hearing from academy grads, his decision stands: “I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else.”