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Scholar athlete: Jarvis Brooks

Ferriday High School junior running back Jarvis Brooks, left, has made it a point to work hard in the classroom so he can play football at the next level. His chemistry teacher, Rhonda Cavin, said Brooks has been one of the hardest working students she has taught in the 25 years of her teaching career. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

FERRIDAY — Junior Jarvis Brooks watched Richard Jefferson sign to play football at Louisiana College earlier this month, and Brooks said he wants to be the next Trojan to sign with a college.

Because of that, Brooks said he’s made a point to hit the books hard going into his senior year, And he has at least one helping hand when it comes to staying dedicated to his studies.

Rhonda Cavin, who teaches the Trojans’ running back in her chemistry class, is Brooks’ favorite teacher, Brooks said. And she’s always on him about his studies, Brooks said.

“She loves football, and she always motivates me with my work and doesn’t show any favoritism,” Brooks said. “She’s just a fun person to be around, especially since she doesn’t yell at you.”

Cavin said she enjoys teaching Brooks, and she understands why he’s chosen to work so hard with his studies.

“I think he’s determined to use his skills on the football field and in the classroom to leave Ferriday and better himself, and I think he realizes that the only way to do that is to work hard,” Cavin said.

Cavin said that she fusses at Brooks from time to time, but it’s never in a mean-spirited way.

“I stay on his case to do better if I feel like he’s been getting lazy,” Cavin said. “I do that in order to help him achieve his goals.

“I’m not fussing at him because he’s being bad, but because I think he can do better than what he’s doing at that particular moment. His mind tends to wander sometimes, and I try to pull him back into things.”

Cavin said that Brooks is one of the hardest-working students she’s ever taught, and that he was a good, polite young man.

“He has common sense to go along with his book sense,” Cavin said.

Brooks said Ferriday has at least one football player every season that has the chance to play college football, but they don’t always get the chance to sign with the school they want to.

“During my freshman year, one of our seniors had a chance to go to a big-time school but couldn’t because of his ACT score,” Brooks said. “That was the only thing standing in the way of their goals.”

By contrast, Brooks said he watched Jefferson get to live his dream by having the grades necessary to sign with Louisiana College.

“He signed because he had all of that out of the way,” Brooks said. “Our coaches are always telling us no matter how good we are, we can’t go anywhere without our grades.”

Brooks said his grade point average is approximately 2.9 right now, and he’s scored a 16 on the ACT. He said he wants to get that score up to at least an 18.

“Later on, I’d also like to get it up to a 19 or a 20,” Brooks said. “I think the better score you get, the more money you get because of academics.”

Brooks said he prepares for the ACT by making sure to pay attention in class.

“Some of the stuff they teach us is some of the stuff that’s on the test,” Brooks said. “Every now and then, they give us an ACT prep course or something like that.”

As a football player, he said his mindset is to stay positive and be strong-minded.

“I’m a leader, not a follower,” Brooks said. “I try to do the right thing all the time and stay away from the wrong things.”

And since he’ll be a senior this fall, Brooks said he realizes the younger players are watching him. But if they were to come to him for advice, he said he would stress not to give into peer pressure.

“No matter what, you always have to do the right thing,” Brooks said. “You have the make the best decision for yourself, not the best decision for them.”

Brooks said he plans to major in business, since he’s always wanted to make a lot of money.