Taylor Hooven has a passion for athletics, but he says he knows that academics will pave the path for his lot in life.
A senior at Evans High School, Taylor has enjoyed playing football for the past six years. He'll start as the strong safety on the Evans Knights varsity football team in the fall as one of 14 returning seniors.
Taylor also enjoys playing baseball, a pastime of his since he was a youngster. But he said he is well aware of the importance of academics in any successful career decision.
"If I could find a school that would offer me a little bit of money to play football, I'd love that, but if not, I'm perfectly content to hang up the pads," said the 16-year-old son of Dwayne and Laura Hooven, of Evans. "Football is my passion. I love playing football, but athletics has a very short tenure on it for me."
Taylor said he's not destined to play pro football, something he realized years ago. That being the case, he said academic successes will be the foundation of whatever career path he chooses.
"Academics and education is the key to building my home in life," he said. "If I focus on my academics with equal amounts of intensity as I do athletics, I think that I will go far and do great things in life."
Taylor's former advanced placement language teacher Mary Stout agrees.
"He excels academically," she said. "He is an outstanding young man."
When Taylor isn't on the field conditioning his body for the sport of the day, he can be found playing the guitar.
An admitted bluegrass fanatic, Taylor picked up a bluegrass CD a few years back and was hooked on the musical style.
"I started listening to the CD and thought to myself that I'd like to learn how to play," he said. "I borrowed a guitar from a man at church and kind of taught myself everything I know."
Since that time, Taylor has taught himself how to play the guitar and attends bluegrass festivals "from time to time."
With a father who is in real estate and a pastor - Augusta Old Line Primitive Baptist Church - and a mother who teaches high school literature, Taylor seems to have the support he needs.
And though he has yet to determine where he wants to go to college or what he might major in, Taylor says he is determined to succeed.
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