Dec. 16, 2013
From academics to athletics, a local student is receiving big honors. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell introduces us to Albemarle High School senior Ryan Thomas who's excelling in sports while also, volunteering at a middle school and maintaining a 4.57 grade point average.
Ryan Thomas can usually be seen participating in track or running cross-county for Albemarle County High School.
He's been a big part of both teams all four years of high school and now serves as the captain.
So, it comes as no surprise that the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame has named him "Male High School Athlete of the Year."
"I must say that it was immensely humbling to have received that award. Many finalists along with me were very well qualified and I think that any one of them was deserving of the award and I'm just very thankful that I was recognized," said Ryan Thomas, VHSL Athlete of the Year.
"He's the whole package. Coaches preach about doing all the right things and Ryan does all the right things," said Buz Male, Cross Country Coach, Albemarle Co. High School.
In addition, to excelling on the track, Thomas also works hard in the classroom to maintain a 4.57 GPA.
"In the classroom I've got to pay attention in class and take advantage of the time that I'm in school so that I don't have to spend late nights studying and so that I can get sleep so that I'm ready for the next practice or the next race," said Thomas.
On top of school work, practices and races, he still finds time to volunteer at Jouett Middle School. He spends several days a week in Allison Starks' 7th Language Arts class helping students with their work.
"With someone like Ryan you can give him something and he can take it and run with it. So, we're doing literature circles and he has his own group and facilitates high quality discussions with them and keeps them engaged. So, it's fantastic to have him here," said Allison Starks, Teacher, Jouett Middle School.
"It really feels nice to give back to the community and see what an impact it has on those kids down there and how it brightens up my day and it brightens up theirs as well. So, it really means a lot to me," said Thomas.
Whether it's doing well with academics, athletics or volunteering his time, many say this student athlete is a positive role model for his classmates.
"I prefer leading by example rather than having to be too vocal about it. I feel as though, if I provide an example that other people might follow," said Thomas.
Thomas is planning to attend Columbia University in the fall.