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Senior athletes graduate with honors

Woodmont High School

Cooper Nicholson: A Brilliant Ball Player Whose Terrific And Scientific

Charismatic senior, Cooper Nicholson, plays well in sports and works hard at school. He moved to the area from Franklin, TN at 13-years-old with his parents, Curtis and Dori, and his little sister, Kinsley. Instantly, he found friends, “Right away, I felt like I fit in with everyone,” he says. Friends were made easy, but grades were a little more challenging. He considers himself “a science guy” and plans to attend Clemson University. Along with a top 10 GPA of 4.98, multiple honors helped him get in. In sports, football is his focus. However, he also plays baseball and basketball. He’s received All Region junior and senior year for football, Junior Marshall, Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, National Honors, Senior Class President, and Beta Club and is an AP Scholar. On how he accomplished these milestones, he explains, “School is the most important thing in my life in terms of getting into college and with what I want to do. Sports motivated me to get my work done early because if I waited until the last minute, I knew I wouldn’t do very well.” Another motivator, “My family has a big role in how I was raised. I’ve always tried to work hard to be the best I can be in everything I do,” Nicholson reveals. Meanwhile, he still manages to maintain a job as a server at Cracker Barrel.

Parents Dori and Curtis with the graduate

This summer, he plans to save money by working and will also enjoy time off before he has to cram hard for classes. He’ll also go to Lake Greenwood to spend time on his family’s boat and hang with friends. After he hit his knee and tore his PCL while playing sports, he visited Hillcrest Medical Center for rehab. After he met doctors who made the recovery very easy, he shares he was inspired, “I’d known I wanted to stay involved with athletics in some way. They enjoy their jobs and I like the idea of helping people.” Next steps for his future include becoming an orthopedic surgeon, “If I can do grad school, I’d love to go down that path,” he says. As a social scholar, it’s inevitable he’ll go the furthest distance and his brilliance will light up the pathway.

Hillcrest High School

Jacob Kerby – A Mathematical Einstein Runs Races

Math-minded runner, Jacob Kerby, is an award-winning athlete with high scores and goals. The Texas native moved to Fountain Inn at a very young age with his parents, James and Joy, his twin brother Joseph and two sisters, Jolene and Johanna. As a cross country and track runner, he managed to keep a 5.207 GPA. In the process, he achieved All Region for this year and last. The team placed in the top eight in the state and he landed in the top four in the 800 meter. Academic acknowledgments include a Mathematics Award, recognition for having the highest SAT and ACT score in math at school, the Scholar Athlete Award and tied for valedictorian (by a third decimal place). As a result, he’s a co-salutatorian in his class. He explains his secret, “I got a lot of work done while at school so I didn’t have to worry about it after school. I wanted to get into a good college and always wanted to do well in my classes. And, I wanted to get better and better with running.” Jacob describes how he accomplished these goals, “I had to work really hard to get here. There were a lot of late nights, but it wasn’t too bad.”

Summer day trips to Lake Greenwood and working as a lifeguard at the Greenville Country Club will take up his time. His lifeguarding boss is also his former coach, “I want to thank my coach because he works really hard with all our runners and puts a lot of time into it. He was really good at coaching me through life as well. He was just a really good role model,” he shares. The future includes plans to utilize his love for math and science at Clemson University. Jacob explains, “It’s always been something I’ve been really good at and I’ve always really enjoyed doing it.” He hasn’t fully decided what direction to go in, but it will involve engineering. There’s no doubt he’ll reach success at the finish line.

Mauldin High School

Abby Marie Parsons – Team Tennis Player Aces Academics

Since seventh grade, Abby Marie Parsons, has hit tennis balls with her whole heart and gave her all in school. She’s lived in the same house in Greenville her whole life with her parents, Scott and Jill, and a younger sister named Kelsey. Her favorite activities include running, hiking, piano and simply hanging out with friends. With a GPA of 5.24, she managed to squeeze in time to study while playing at team tournaments. Math and science are her favorite subjects. Tests were regularly aced and so were serves. Junior year, she placed within the top 12 tennis players for All State. Sophomore through senior year, she was a top pick for All Region and the Greenville News selected her from the Upstate Team for a recognition ceremony. One tournament was played at Furman and another in Charleston. They placed second in overall achievements at Furman. In Charleston this year, they placed in the top four. Somehow, she made it work with serious time management, “It was hard at first, but I’d find time. On the bus to tournaments, I’d do homework or study in between tournaments. Any little space in time, while eating dinner I’d study and not take as many breaks,” she says. Parsons mentions a big motivator to do well in sports came from being a team player, “Having a team is motivating. Their depending on you and it motivates you to work harder because you don’t want to let your teammates down.” The future holds a winning score for this rising star. She will attend Clemson University for health studies, “I’m thinking maybe physical therapy or becoming a physician assistant,” she shares.

Abby Parsons

This summer, she’ll be going to Disney for a day and to the beach in Florida with a friend. She and her family will also go out west to the Grand Canyon, Utah and Arizona. When she gets back, she’ll be teaching kids how to play tennis during camp at Holly Tree Country Club. On or off the court, Abby’s determination can’t be matched.♦

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