Hard Work, 5 a.m. Alarm Lead Justin to the Ivy League

Justin-SandersJustin Sanders

• School: Sayre School
• Grade: 12
• Sports: Basketball
• Academics: Justin has a 3.9 GPA, has taken five A.P. classes, sings in the school’s a cappella group and is a member of the National Honor Society.
• Parents: Gina & Vaughn

It may seem that Sayre School senior Justin Sanders is too good to be true, but there he stands – 6-foot-2, 170 pounds. At 18, the epitome of the Renaissance Man.

A smooth-scoring point guard for the Spartans, Justin will attend and play basketball at Dartmouth College.

He was second-team All-City for Sayre, leading the Spartans in scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and free throws. He was the team MVP, and made the All “A” and 11th district tournament team.

In the classroom, Justin has a 3.9 grade-point average, has taken five A.P. classes and scored 29 on his ACT (34 in math, 31 in science. He also scored 700 in math on the SAT.)

He was Academic All-State, had the highest GPA on the basketball team, is a member of the National Honor Society and represented Sayre at a national conference on diversity.

Outside the classroom, he is a member of the YMCA Black Achievers, vice president of the school’s Disaster Relief Fund Club, was a math tutor, a member of the Culinary

Club, is vice president of the Youth Coalition for Alcohol Education and volunteers at his church and for the Lexington French Refugee effort.

He also is the only Scholar Athlete in 17 years to sing for a former President and First Lady.

As a member of a youth choir in suburban Washington, D.C., where he grew up, he sang for George H. W. and Barbara Bush at St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House.

After his voice changed, he stopped singing but resumed this year and revived the boys a cappella group at school. The Spartones performed in school and at downtown churches.

How does he find time to accomplish so much? Hard work and a reliable alarm clock.

To improve his basketball skills, he awakened at 5 a.m. for pre-class workouts at school.

“I’m not an early riser, but time is an advantage so I was willing to get up early to get the extra hours of work,” he said.

For homework, he usually seeks the quiet of a library but catches study time when and where it presents itself.

“You have to be disciplined and willing to study in weird places, in the car or wherever,” he said.

He may be a math-science whiz prepared to pursue engineering in college, but he embraces change.

“My short term goal is to go to sleep at night knowing that I didn’t cheat myself out of being the best person I can be,” he said.

“I am also aware that what you want to do is always changing. I have to expose myself to all experiences, so my life is driven by my heart, not my wallet.”

Spoken by a true Renaissance Man.

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