25 Mar Deep roots: Family has ties to Searcy schools, UCA
Story and photo
by Megan Stroud
Searcy High School senior Mason Putman is surrounded by family members who have grown deeply rooted ties in the Searcy School District and with the University of Central Arkansas. In the Searcy schools, his grandmother was an English teacher and librarian, his great uncle was the principal, his great aunt was the counselor and home economics teacher, and his parents met at Searcy High.
While he may be continuing to follow in his family’s footsteps by attending UCA in the fall, he plans to make his own legacy. “I definitely am finding my own way there, creating my own legacy,” he said. “My parents were really open about it. They wanted me to go to the school that I liked the most, the one that fit me the best.
“I feel like UCA fits me the best and is going to be helpful for what I want to do later in life.”
Mason, a center on the Searcy High School state championship football team, tore his ACL and MCL at the end of his sophomore season. Through physical therapy, he only missed the off season and was playing again by the time his junior year began.
“I saw how helpful they were and how they change lives,” Mason said. “You take someone who can barely walk and then turn them into someone who can play football again. I just think that is really cool to be involved in something. I was not super psyched about it, but they made me want to come every day. I wanted to be like them.”
After deciding to pursue physical therapy, UCA was the obvious choice for Mason. He plans to graduate with a kinesiology degree and apply for the Professional Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UCA.
Even in high school, Mason has already given time to serving others through his love for athletics. In addition to his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and with the high school football team, he also coaches for Project Unity, an organization through Searcy High with teams of special needs students who want to be involved in athletics like basketball and football.
“I love Searcy because it is such a tight community,” Mason said. “You kind of know everybody and if you need help you can always ask. Everybody cares about you here. Conway is a bigger town than Searcy, but I feel like Conway is the same way. Everybody is tightly knit together, especially the UCA community.”
As Mason prepares to graduate high school in May and begin classes at UCA in August, he knows he has the support of his entire family behind him.
“They have always supported me no matter what I do,” Mason said. “Everybody has come and supported me and they are going to do everything they can to help me.”