A model in multiple fields
Published 6:30 pm Saturday, June 8, 2013
KFHS’ Clark awarded as scholar athlete
Charles Clark of King’s Fork High School has received the J. William Myers Scholar Athlete Award, given to the best male and female student-athletes in the Southeastern District each year.
“This young man is an outstanding athlete and scholar and is a perfect candidate for this award,” King’s Fork principal Suzanne Rice said in a press release from Suffolk Public Schools.
A credit to the strong King’s Fork program, Clark is the school’s third student to receive this award in the last four years, joining a select group that includes Derek Wright and Zach Johnson.
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King’s Fork Athletic Director Randy Jessee was proud of Clark and said, “To be in a prestigious district like the Southeastern District and be the male scholar-athlete of the year is quite impressive.”
Clark will play football on a full scholarship at Virginia Tech, and while his accomplishments on the gridiron are well-documented, his academic record is equally impressive and also played a role in his early college admission.
“He is an excellent student with a GPA of 4.04 and has taken honors courses all four years of high school,” Rice said in the release.
Expressing gratitude and surprise over the honor, Clark said, “When our (athletic director) nominated me for it, I was just thinking, ‘Yeah, I probably won’t get it, but it’ll be something good to go ahead and try out for.’ But when he told me that I got it, I was excited.”
He explained that his motivation to excel at both football and academics stemmed from a desire “just to better myself, not to be considered one-dimensional … have more to myself than just being able to just be a scholar and not have athletic skills, or just being able to be an athlete and not having scholar skills.”
Clark said his mother, Lashonda Clark, was key to his success.
“She always stayed on me about my grades. Every time my grades would slip or something, she’d shoot me a text while I’m at school and say, ‘You need to go check with this teacher,’ or something like that.”
Jessee recognized the significant role that Clark’s mother played in her son’s life, shaping his character. He also cited King’s Fork football coach Joe Jones’ mentorship that reinforced his development as the ideal student-athlete.
“I think the combination of him being brought up with good morals and character and then the process of going through the athletic program with people who cared has kind of molded him in that direction,” Jessee said.
In addition to praising Clark’s athletic ability and classroom skills, Jessee also described him as “a great role model and leader in the school.”
He said that gifted athletes who earn the limelight, like Clark, often do not handle success well, and lose respect from people who are around them.
“But his peers, the faculty and staff and student body here just love him to death, think the world of him,” Jessee said. “I think that speaks a lot of him.”
In the press release, Rice said that Clark “demonstrates impeccable manners and respect for his peers and all adults. This young man has never had any disciplinary infraction.”
Clark said that being on a team was a major influence in how he conducted himself at school.
“That’s when you’ve got responsibilities to be there for your team,” he said. “You’ve got to keep your behavior in check while you’re in school, so that’s got a lot to do with it.”