Russ named Concordia Parish Student of the Year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 8, 2010

FERRIDAY — Bright-eyed, smart, well spoken and composed, it’s easy to see why Jalen Russ was chosen as the Concordia Parish Student of the Year.

“I like sports, and I am very much into academics,” said Russ, 11. “I love academics because without them I couldn’t play sports, and I am thankful for that.”

So far, he’s had only one “B” in his academic career — in fourth grade math — and it’s not something he remembers lightly.

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“I was pretty upset because I had let myself down, and I knew I could do better,” Russ said. “I knew it wasn’t my teacher’s fault — it was mine.”

His favorite subject is math, and Russ said that’s because it crosses into other curricula.

“I like numbers, and a lot of other subjects deal with math,” he said. “For example, in science you use certain formulas.”

And while he takes pride in being brainy, Russ also takes pride in having a little brawn, too.

“I am pretty good at basketball,” he said. “My dad helps me a lot and pushes me to that extra limit.”

And Russ said he hopes to use the lessons he learns from sports in the real world.

“Football teaches you mental toughness, and you need something to fall back on if you don’t get that doctor’s, lawyer’s or teacher’s position,” he said.

In addition to being athletic and an academic, Russ is a member of the 4-H club, and he said he would like to be president or vice-president one day.

And he hopes that experience will prepare him for the kind of leadership he will need in his chosen profession, medicine.

“I would really like to be a doctor,” Russ said. “It is sad to see other people who are not in good health. I want to make sure most people across this nation are safe so I can be their healer if they are an in accident or a shooting or get sick. I want to make sure they are living a life like I am living, a good life.”

Russ’ outgoing personality has also served his school, Ferriday Upper Elementary Curriculum Supervisor Millicent Mayo said.

“Whenever we have events or rallies, he’s our emcee,” she said.

Russ is the son of Joyce Ivory and Keith Russ.