Climbing the Ivy

RA senior Tairyn Lockhart is headed to Penn State on the way to Harvard


Tairyn Lockhart dressed as a doctor for Career Day.

Lori Lyons, Advisor

When Tairyn Lockhart opened the email from Penn State University’s admissions office a few months ago, there was very little suspense about what it would say. So there wasn’t much of a celebration over the fact that he was, indeed, accepted.

“I always expect big things,” he said.

There may have been a touch of disappointment, however.

While some Riverside athletes dream of college football or basketball glory, Tairyn’s dream has always been of Ivy — the Ivy Leagues. Harvard, to be exact. But because of the year of Covid-19 and the nationwide shutdown of colleges, Harvard accepted only a handful of students for its fall of 2021 admissions. The prestigious college accepted only 3.43 percent of applicants and Tairyn wasn’t one of them.

But rather than give up on his dreams, he simply adjusted. While a few other colleges gave him scholarship offers, Tairyn turned to Penn State with plans to transfer at some point to Harvard. He plans to study to be a doctor.

“It came up kind of late,” he said. “Actually, I was surprised at some of the colleges I didn’t get into. I didn’t get in to Baylor. Michigan. Those were a surprise.”

Although he played football and basketball for Riverside, Tairyn said he has no plans to pursue sports in college.

“It was just for fun,” he said.

Tairyn will graduate from Riverside Academy with a 4.25 grade point average and 24 college credits along with a hefty academic scholarship. At this week’s athletic banquet, he received the very first Jared Butler Basketball award, given to the player who exhibits the same type of leadership qualities, work ethic and scholarship of the Riverside alum who went on to Baylor and recently helped the Bears win the basketball National Championship. Butler was named the MVP of the title game and his jersey was recently retired by Riverside.

Tairyn Lockhart received the first Jared Butler Basketball Award

“It was a big surprise,” Tairyn said. “To get an award named for him, it’s a great honor.”

Now he is preparing to move north, to Harrisburg, Penn., where the weather is colder and his family will be far away.

“My mom is going to cry,” he said. “She cried when I signed the lease on my apartment.”