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HAMMOCK: Broncos' Graves working on state title, college credit

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Extra sleep is as hot a commodity now as it was when I was in high school, since opportunities to wake up late don’t come often for kids who rise before the sun.

It’s part of why teenagers nod off during classes and it’s why Elliott Graves’ classmates are envious of the Brookwood senior.

“Tuesday and Thursday I don’t have any classes in the mornings, so I get to sleep in,” Graves said. “That’s very nice. Everybody’s like, ‘What’s your first and second period?’ I don’t have any. I’m in bed. Most of my friends are kind of jealous of that.”

Welcome to college.

Graves is a starting offensive guard for the Brookwood football team, which hosts Collins Hill in Friday’s Class AAAAA semifinals, but he’s also the only Bronco student at Georgia Gwinnett College. His morning algebra and freshman English classes at GGC are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, leaving Tuesday and Thursday open for some extra shut-eye.

He arrives at Brookwood each day around 10:30 a.m. to finish his day with lunch and forensics, political systems and weight training classes. After school, it’s off to football practice. Then it’s study time that requires self-motivation that students find necessary in college.

“At the college level, it’s more your responsibility,” Graves said. “In a sense it’s more work because a lot of the work we do is online and easy to blow off. But it’s more your responsibility and not a teacher guiding you along like high school.”

Mark Crews, Graves’ football coach, said motivation isn’t a problem for his senior lineman. A strong work ethic is one of his strengths.

“(Graves) is one of those kids who’s gotten everything he can get out of what God gave him,” Crews said. “He’s a great kid. He’s conscientious. He’s the kind of player you’ve got to have to be a great football team.”

Graves, who maintains a 3.7 GPA, could have taken the route that most of his studious classmates did — take Advanced Placement classes at the high school and then take tests to determine college credit. He preferred to take college classes with guaranteed credit, though he’s still in the decision-making process about which four-year school to attend.

He and his parents thought that was the best plan, so he has enrolled in a full course load in the spring of statistics, economics and freshman English. He won’t attend any classes at Brookwood in the spring, so he may still have a sleep advantage on his fellow seniors.

But that’s only a fringe benefit of what he feels is a great decision.

“I’m getting ahead in college and those courses are worth double credit from high school courses,” Graves said. “And it gets you prepared for college. It’s a head start, so you’ll know what to expect.”

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.