A Graduation Trend at Phoebus HS
Proof positive that there are some amazing student-athletes doing positive things at their high schools. Phoebus is a high school located in my neighboring town of Hampton. While their athletic program is highlighted by the four consecutive Virginia state titles won by their football team, the school boasts some notable athletes in other sports. Here is the story of a few.
At Phoebus High School, there has been one constant at the graduation ceremony since 2009. For the past four years, either the valedictorian or salutatorian has been a member of the boys or girls soccer team.
This year, Ian Griffin, a forward/midfielder with the Phantom team, will represent the Class of 2012 as the salutatorian. He will follow in the steps of past Phoebus soccer players, such as Zack Peters (2011 valedictorian), Caitlin Kremp (2011 salutatorian), and Christopher Russ (2010 salutatorian). Russ was also a recipient of the prestigious Bill Gates Millennium scholarship, making Phoebus one of the few schools nationwide to have multiple award winners. This year’s valedictorian, Mia Knowles is also a Gates scholar, which provides a full scholarship to the college of choice for 1,000 minority high school students each year.
For Griffin, the correlation between hard work in sports and academics has been part of the reason for his success.
“There is something about the doing the work. You have to dedicate yourself, building up your conditioning and skill level. It’s all about the work ethic, and once you develop it in the sport, you also develop it in the classroom.”
While he acknowledges the diversion that soccer provides from daily schoolwork, Griffin does have a favorite course.
“AP Psychology. The teacher (Mr. Carpenter) took it to a whole new level. It was just a fun class. Some teachers can just do that – make a class.”
Griffin will attend James Madison University next year and is considering the idea of continuing his soccer career as a walk-on.
The work ethic tie-in between sports and academics is a concept shared by Phoebus’ boys soccer coach Ryan Pringle.
“Of course I put an emphasis on grades, but there is a connection between certain sports and academics.” As proof of this, he shares a favorite quote, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Another Pringle saying was quoted by Peters at last year’s graduation ceremony. “I’m glad that something I said stuck with him, and he thought it was important enough to repeat in front of the student body,” said Pringle, proud with his recollection.
The trend may continue into the Class of 2013.
Junior goalkeeper Jack Peters (Zack’s brother) is currently ranked first in his class, putting him in position to serve as next year’s valedictorian. In spite of the family connection, the younger Peters feels “no pressure,” and is staying focused on his plans to major in engineering, possibly at Virginia Tech. As part of his training, Peters is enrolled in the “Lead the Way” program, which includes an engineering centered curriculum of five courses, beginning in ninth grade, and culminating with a project. The final step involves the creation and development of a product, seeing the process from its embryonic formation through the stages of production to manufacturing and marketing.
With modesty in check, Peters said, “Hopefully, this (program) will help me in the future.”
As the soccer season reaches its conclusion for the Phantoms, the future is indeed bright for Griffin and Peters, the latest soccer players to top their classes on Ireland Avenue.