Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

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Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spotlight

Article excerpt

Juan Wilson, 16, didn't always consider himself a role model. But when administrators selected the Fort Zumwalt South junior to be a member of Positive Peer Influence, he became recognized for both his athletic and academic achievements.

"We attend leadership seminars and conferences to promote positive influences," Juan said. "When they chose me, I had to change myself to start being more of a role model."

Juan also participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and he hopes to become a peer mediator, resolving student conflicts with the help of guidance counselors. At his church, Life Christian Center in Fenton, Juan also volunteers his time for SPLASH, an outreach program for inner city children and parents. "We bring a truck in, and the side of it comes down and becomes a stage," Juan said. "We play games and music, and they have a truck that comes by and gives out hot dogs, chips and juice." Juan said his family hopes to run their own branch of Life Christian Center next year. After he graduates from high school, Juan hopes to pursue a psychology degree at Western Michigan University, which his sister Dameka, 19, attends. His other goal - to become a professional baseball player - has kept him motivated since the fifth grade. Despite his involvement with church and sports, Juan maintains an overall grade-point average of 3.89 and is a member of the National Honor Society. "I have seven classes this year," Juan said. His most challenging classes - pre-calculus, physics and French III - are college-level courses. By taking a "zero hour" course, which starts at 6:48 a.m., Juan hopes to graduate early or earn half days during his senior year. Juan lives in St. Peters with his parents Donnell and Rhonda, and his brother, Dominique, 15. He had the following to add about himself: My greatest talent is: my ability to work with young children. …

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