Park shines in classroom and on gridironJanuary 7, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Carson Park can’t say it was ever on his radar, because he didn’t even know it existed.
The Jasper senior offensive lineman and linebacker learned at the Wildcats’ team banquet he had been named to the Indianapolis Colts 2019 Academic All-Star Team. Park has a 4.62 grade point average and is in the running to be Jasper’s salutatorian when he graduates. The Colts honored him and the 24 others selected to the team Dec. 22 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“It's something I'm proud of, but it was never my goal,” Park said. “My goal was just to do the best that I could in football and academics, and it worked out that I got the award."
Park said it was a really cool experience to be on the field at Lucas Oil and to get to meet the others who got the honor. He said the members of the team talked about where they were going for their higher education. Some of them were going to continue their football careers. Park wants to as well, but nothing has materialized yet on that front since he just started the recruiting process.
He’s visited Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis. Park has applied to Indiana University, Duke University and the University of Notre Dame.
It hasn’t been easy for Park to balance football and school, but he’s picked up on some time management skills through the years. He enjoys doing both things. Among his favorite subjects in school are biology and math.
“Excelling in school and excelling in football has always been a goal of mine,” he said. “I guess the achievement just kind of helped to validate that I’m doing well in both.”
He said academics and football are similar in one way. The discipline he has in academics “spills over” into the discipline he has playing football or being in the weight room.
It won’t bother him if he doesn’t play football at the next level. His main priority is his academics and he wants to attend a school that has a strong academic program.
“I’m just trying to stress it now so it’s easier down the road for me,” Park said.
Father Mike Park first found out about his son’s talents in the classroom when he was approximately in middle school. Mike said Carson grasped things well and has always been a hard worker. His son getting to be on the field at Lucas Oil as an Academic All-Star was a proud moment for him.
“He kind of has that work-first, play-second mentality,” Mike said. “I think it’s worked out really well for him."
Carson is in three advanced placement classes right now in government, calculus and advanced physics. He’s also part of the HOSA program. HOSA is an acronym for Health Occupations Students of America. Carson is able to shadow different physicians in the area. He’s likely to become a pre-medical student in college, though he’s not sure exactly what he’ll do as a profession.
He didn’t have a lot of homework Monday. School just got back in session from the holidays. Carson plans to keep doing the best he can and see what happens his final semester of high school.
“I’m a little nervous to graduate, but also excited of the new people that I’ll meet, the new experiences that I’ll have,” Carson said. “It’s kind of scary just leaving the town I’ve been in basically my whole life, and the people I’ve known my whole life and that I’ve grew up with, but it’s exciting at the fact of meeting new people and doing new things and playing football at a different place, maybe, and doing academics somewhere else, too. So, I’m excited.”
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