Drew from Quitman

Drew Parker in a football game.

Photograph courtesy of Drew’s Mama

Drew has been playing football since he was six or seven years old. He doesn’t remember.

“It was flag football. I remember that.” He pauses, smiles and then continues, “I started playing football in the first or second grade. I played flag football first. I didn’t play one year. I played soccer instead but I came back because I love football. I love winning. It teaches me hard work and perseverance.”

About his senior offensive lineman, Head Panther Football Coach Rashad Gandy says, “Drew had a very positive impact on our football team. He was one of the leaders on our team. He was a player the guys would rally around because he led by encouraging his fellow teammates and by example through excelling on and off the football field. He is another absolute joy to coach.”

 

Drew poses for a senior photo.

Photograph Courtesy of Drew’s Mama

Coach Gandy’s absolute joy to coach earned the academic standing of #4 in a class of young people who rise up well in a challenge. His fellow teammates and classmates, as well as their parents, are now voting on how they prefer to handle the 2020 graduation. He doesn’t even take a stand.

“It ain’t too, too, too important. It ain’t the biggest thing in the world. My mama has an opinion on it, and she wrote in where it says other comment but said she’d need to rewrite it before sending it in. I’ll let her handle it. It’s important to her.”

What was important to Drew was becoming the QHS Class of 2020 salutatorian so he could give a speech and list some names of people who had a major impact on his education, but even this high achiever couldn’t get past the three ahead of him. Now he just wants to say,

“Shouts out to my mama. Rachel Lee in 4th and 5th grade. Shouts out to Mr. Muhtu, the realest foreigner I’ve ever met. Shouts out to Dr. Savage, that boy out here balling on half a foot. Coach Gandy, Jimmy Rashad and Coach Hines.”

Drew poses for a photo.

Photograph Courtesy of Drew’s Mama

Those educators and others at Quitman School District have helped ensure Drew is on a path directed to his goals.

“I want to be a physical therapist. I figured it out my junior year. I love helping people. On December 3rd I had that surgery and went into physical therapy and that was pretty cool. I tore my labrum, and I was in physical therapy for three months. No, four months. I had the surgery right before Christmas. I’m going to MCC for 2 years. Then I’ll do another 2 years at Mississippi State in Meridian and get my bachelor’s degree in sports medicine or something else. I don’t know. Then I’ll have to go to either Hattiesburg or Jackson to do medical school.”

With 12 hours of college credit earned through dual enrollment during his senior year of high school Drew is dreaming that 12 years from now he will,

“Have a job as a physical therapist for the football team at The University of Southern Mississippi, a boat, a nice set of golf clubs and a house on Betty Circle in Quitman, Mississippi.”

What is for certain is that he’ll be close to home and family. About his brother and sister, the National Honor Society and Beta Club member explains,

“I have exceeded all expectations. Not expectations. I have exceeded all my predecessors. I am the brightest son. Kristen’s IQ was like 18. Zach maybe a 19. He had his thing, and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but he was a bum at everything he did in life. Everything he does in life. He’s terrible at golf. I’m fixing to go play him after I get finished with this.”

 

Drew poses with his family and Coach Gandy.

Photograph Courtesy of Drew’s Mama

For those seeking advice from his mama’s self proclaimed brightest son, Drew has some.

“Do your work. It’s not that hard. If you try, teachers will help you out.”