Gatton Academy senior boasts impressive international experience


Noah Moore

Gatton Academy senior Marco Garcia has done more in 18 years than some older adults do in their entire lifetime. And yes, that includes being attacked by Venezuelan monkeys.

Many people’s goals in life are to travel the world, explore global cultures, and gain experience being abroad, but not many have this accomplished by the age of 18 like Garcia. Garcia has lived in three countries, ridden on the back of the world’s oldest turtle, witnessed a tsunami and been to all continents except Antarctica.

Garcia was born in Seychelles, a small island off the coast of eastern Africa, and lived there from 2000 to 2010. He then moved to Venezuela, where he lived for another two years.

“We moved from Seychelles to Venezuela because my father was diagnosed with Lymphoma and the Venezuelan government would pay for treatment because he is a citizen,” Garcia said. “Two years later, we moved from Venezuela to the United States because my parents divorced and my mother is from Kentucky, and that’s how I ended up here.”

Garcia is the oldest of his siblings. He has two brothers and a sister and said he is very close with his family, mainly due to their constant moving from place to place, which Garcia said was one of the hardest parts about his grand adventures, along with his father developing cancer.

“Moving to a country that spoke a language I didn’t know and having to go to school there is probably another big challenge I faced,” said Garcia. “I can’t really say that one experience shaped me more than another though because I feel that all of my experiences come together to shape me together.”

Despite the challenges his life has posed, his diverse experiences more than make up for it. Garcia has done everything from living on a 40 foot genoa rigged sloop, which is a type of sailboat, for an entire year, to visiting the Amazon rainforest.

Fear is not a familiar emotion for Garcia, as many of his experiences come due to his father, a worker for the United Nations Fishing Regulating Agency. Marco received his PADI certification when he was 10, though he had been scuba diving for a year by then. He swam with whale sharks and turtles, explored shipwrecks and has even survived his boat being hit by lightning.

Needless to say, Garcia has been shaped profoundly by his experiences, said his mother Amy Glick-Garcia.

“Moving around and being exposed to all different people, cultures and school systems has really made him accept people as people, which is an invaluable skill,” she said.

Beyond hands-on experience, Garcia has also acquired skills that can be utilized daily. He is fluent in Spanish and Swahili, which inspired him to enroll in Arabic 101 this semester.

Whether it be ocean adventures or language skills, the experiences Marco Garcia has acquired throughout his life will surely stick with him forever. Even with the diverse array of places he has lived, he claims there is not one that he loved more than another.

“Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite place,” he said. “I love all the places I’ve lived in for different reasons. They are all very unique and have their flaws, but I consider them all home. Even Margarita, Venezuela, where we were attacked by monkeys.”

Features reporter Noah Moore can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @noah_moore18.