It can be difficult for many students to adapt to the increasing pressures of academics coupled with athletic opportunity. Senior Shavon Pennie has not only adapted, but has also grown stronger from his effort. The varsity track team member received a scholarship to A&M Kingsville for football. To earn this opportunity to play at Kingsville, Pennie had to start taking his academic responsibilities more seriously, by taking AP and Pre-AP classes.
“Shavon’s always been responsible, but this year I’ve seen him take a lot of ownership over his academics and preparing himself for next year,” counselor Justin Estes said. “He’s learned a lot of things in his senior year that are going to serve him well in college–namely the importance of establishing a solid academic record freshman year and the value of building relationships with those who play a part in your education.”
While these lessons may play a vital role in the future, Pennie has already gained a lot from building relationships with the teachers he has had throughout high school.
“Mrs.Wagner was my first AP teacher and she pushed me past my limits and gave me the ability to pass my first AP class,” Pennie said. “Mrs. Bratsen, my algebra teacher, helped me when I needed help and encouraged me to achieve my goals.”
Pennie’s coaches think he has the ability to be great in college, not just for his athletic aptitude but for his commitment off the field as well.
“Shavon Pennie is an incredible athlete with world class speed,” Coach Justin Smith said. “He has an incredible work ethic and refuses to let anyone out-work him. His accomplishments and accolades, athletically, are a direct reflection of his work ethic.”
All of Pennie’s hard work has led to him being accepted to Texas A&M Kingsville and the chance to be a member of the football team there.
“Shavon sets himself apart from others because he doesn’t make excuses; he finds solutions, “ Estes said. “All the awesome things he’s already accomplished and those that he’ll achieve in the future are a direct result of his drive and determination. He’s a great student and a talented athlete, but most importantly he’s respectful and carries himself with integrity.”
Not only is Pennie dedicated to achieving the best grades he can and working as hard as he can on the field he is also a leader amongst his peers.
“Shavon is a leader by example,” Smith said. “If something needs to be said he will speak up, but most of the time people see the way he puts out complete effort in everything he does and it inspires them to want to do the same.”
Though Pennie spends a lot of time practicing and working in the classroom, he hasn’t let his success go to his head and is a very respectful individual.
“He was a hard worker and always added to the classroom discussion,” teacher Laura Wagner said. “He was punctual and completed his assignments in a timely manner. I was also very impressed with Shavon’s drive and perseverance in my course.”
Even with all the time Pennie spent working to become a better student, as well as practicing for football and track, he remained an easy person to get along with.
“Pennie is a quiet leader in class,” Wagner said. “On several occasions he assisted other students who were struggling with particular concepts. He is very humble, polite, and compassionate. For these reasons he is admired by his peers.”
Pennie isn’t doing all this work just to to try to turn pro after college though, his education is his top priority.
“I play football because it’s my way into college to get my education,” Pennie said. “Going to Kingsville will be the biggest accomplishment in my family. I’m the first to graduate from high school, so going to college just makes everything better because I’m standing out and being a leader for my little cousins.”