Each year, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) selects an Academic All-State Team. The FHSAA Ronald N. Davis Academic All-State Team recognition program honors 24 graduating seniors from around the state who excel in both athletics and academics. Twelve young women and twelve young men are selected from throughout the state.
Any FHSAA member senior high school may nominate one male and one female graduating senior. A nominee must have a cumulative unweighted grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and must have earned a varsity letter in at least two different FHSAA-recognized sports during each of his or her junior and senior years.
For only the second time in school history, an Indian Rocks Christian School student was named to the team. Christopher Parish, our 2014 Valedictorian, was selected to be on the Academic All-State Team. Our only other selection was Ryan Kaufman in 2009.
This past Monday evening, the FHSAA hosted a banquet to honor each of the 12 males and females selected for this prestigious award. I had the opportunity to attend the banquet with Christopher and his dad, Pastor Jeff. It was quite an impressive affair. The event was held at the ballroom of a local Gainesville hotel. It was nicely decorated and had a repeating Power Point of the team members showing five photos of each. We were treated to a very nice meal. (The steak was twice as big as the chicken so if you ever have this opportunity, pick steak.) Each student athlete was honored individually. Master of Ceremonies Dr. Peggy Jones read short bios on each student as FHSAA Executive Director Dr. Roger Dearing presented them with a commemorative medal and pin. They also received a check for $1,000.
As I listened to the accolades of each of the student athletes represented, I realized that Christopher was in some pretty “rare air”. Each one was an exceptional student in addition to their athletic accomplishments. There were 10 Valedictorians and 2 Salutatorians. There was a National Merit Scholarship winner. Some of the future colleges and universities mentioned were Columbia, Yale, SMU, Notre Dame, USC, Boston University, Oxford (in England), and Florida to name a few. One of the best parts was that Christopher was right there in the mix with all of them. His accomplishments and plans were just as notable. He plans to attend Rhodes College where he will major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology leading to a career in medical research. One of the notable distinctions that separated Christopher was when they asked who his biggest inspiration was. Some put family members while others listed professional athletes. Christopher listed his as Jesus Christ.
Indian Rocks Christian School is proud of you Christopher and of your accomplishments. Thank you for your hard work. May God continue to bless you as you go on from here.