Aaron Guy of Fruitland went from performing poorly in high school to succeeding in college and in life, thanks to Wor-Wic and the U.S. Marines. Now he spends his time helping others.
Guy was in the Marines in Florida when he realized he needed an education. He wanted to come home to be close to family, to get an education, but said he wasn’t confident academically.
“Wor-Wic helped me discover I was good at school,” he said. “The college gave me space to figure out what I wanted to do and to learn in a different way than I had before. The instructors really cared. My success brought them joy. They helped me succeed in and out of class.”
Guy said his honors classes really changed his outlook on learning, especially the world civilizations class he took with Daniel R. Pavese III, instructor of history. “We were able to pick a time period and then present it to the rest of the class,” Guy explained. “I was much more invested in learning the material because I was choosing it. I wasn’t just being told to memorize a bunch of dates and things that happened. It had a big impact on me.”
After graduating from Wor-Wic with high honors in 2011, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in conflict analysis and dispute resolution from Salisbury University. He then worked for several years for a nationwide leasing company based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, while still living on the Eastern Shore. Guy said he was making lots of money for that company and realized he wanted his efforts to go to the shore. He wanted to help local businesses grow.
In 2018, he began working for the Pohanka Automotive Group of Salisbury. He created a new branch of the business – the Community Partners program, which is under the Pohanka Pays it Forward umbrella. As the director of the program, Guy said that each month, they choose a few organizations in the community that are giving back or are civic minded and make a discount available to them. He calls it “giving back to the givers.”
Guy is very interested and involved in the direction and improvement of his community. He is actively involved with the Greater Salisbury Committee (GSC), the Wicomico County Education Foundation and the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce. He is also on the board of Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore (JA). Most of the work he does with these organizations focuses on improving education and opportunities for those growing up on the shore.
Part of what he is doing with the GSC is working to combat the brain drain challenges. “We are targeting students early, and engaging and educating them on why they want to be here,” Guy said, “essentially providing a lifestyle fair, not just a job fair.”
Guy said he got involved with JA because they are delivering age-appropriate curricula to K-12 students in six Eastern Shore counties. Financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship are often the focus, according to Guy. “In November, I taught a second grade class for a week at Fruitland Primary about what makes a community, how to run a business and why we pay taxes. JA provides needed learning for things I was not taught in school.
“GSC and the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor the Wicomico Education Foundation, and it has been awesome to learn about the impact legislation has in Wicomico County,” Guy said. “I get to sit alongside Dr. Ray Hoy and many others to discuss strategies for greater success in our community with regard to education.
“All of these organizations have a meaningful and positive impact on our community and I’ve enjoyed being both active and engaged in learning and problem solving.”
Guy said his plans for the future are to grow the Community Partners program and to own his own business someday.