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GMC student lives the "American Dream"

(Yaroslav Sherling is a native of the Ukraine and was adopted by American parents. He is the starting kicker/punter for the GMC Bulldogs' Football team.)

20-year-old Yaroslav Sherling is ready to excel both in the classroom and on the football field at Georgia Military College’s (GMC) Milledgeville campus. While practicing as the starting kicker/punter for the GMC Bulldogs, he’s also practicing to take command of the English language.

“I wanted to attend GMC because it’s a great opportunity for me to start getting my education,” said Yaroslav Sherling. “It’s not far away from home and as a junior college it gives me more time to work on my English and communicate with other people before I start taking classes at a four-year college.“

Sherling is a native of Kirovograd, Ukraine. Yaroslav’s biological mother suffered from alcoholism and was unable to care for him. He spent six years in a Ukrainian orphanage and was separated from his two older sisters. Because of his good behavior at the orphanage, his information was sent to adoption agencies. In 2015, he was adopted by American parents, Karol and Mark Sherling. When he was 16-years-old, he moved with the Sherling family to McDonough, Georgia where he gained three adoptive siblings and attended Ola High School.

“Life in the Ukraine wasn’t easy and it’s much different from here,” said Sherling. “Here in the United States you have more opportunities and that’s why I love it here. My adoptive parents really care about me because of the amount of money and time they spent away from their kids for my adoption. The First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Georgia also supported my family financially and spiritually in my adoption. I really respect them for that. This adoption is a chance at a new life for me.”

Sherling says when he first moved to the United States school was difficult due to his language barrier, but he was determined to never give up. He learned English by listening and observing other people. He says it took him a year to learn English before he could have a regular conversation with people. Sherling found his love for American football three years ago and is determined to play professionally in the future. He’s now encouraging others to pursue their dreams.

“If you work hard enough at something, you will get it,” said Sherling. “I really appreciate GMC’s Head Football Coach Bert Williams for giving me the opportunity to join the bulldog family and to play for one of the best junior college football teams in the country. He really cares about his athletes and tells us how to be successful on and off the football field.”

Sherling is currently pursuing an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in History at GMC. He hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree in either Sports Medicine or Sports Management at The University of Georgia.