Travon Graves doesn’t like to take the easy way out.
He’s the top of his class at Petersburg High School with a 4.19 GPA. In addition to succeeding in his classes, Graves balances his time between Future Business Leaders of America, his school’s drama club and other community service groups and projects through The One Club. On top of all that, he’s a crew leader at his local Hardee’s. He’s had the job since he was legally able to hold a job.
“It’s kind of a struggle,” Graves said about managing his schedule. “It’s all hard work and I believe in hard work.”
Graves is responsible for training employees at his store and although managing his time is a challenge, he has stuck with the job to prepare himself for his future.
“My current position shows current employees (and prospective ones) and hopefully colleges that I am mature, responsible and dependable,” he wrote in a scholarship application essay. “(My job) gives me the mindset that I can achieve anything if I take it seriously and put my mind to it.”
Graves said his first passion will always be acting, though. He acted in a play called “Peer Pressure” during his sophomore year and since then, has tried to continue with theater because of how important it has become to him.
“I feel like you can express yourself when you do it,” Graves said. “It’s really important, it’s fun (and) it’s just what I like to do.”
Despite how important acting is to Graves, he plans to major in accounting in college. He was recently accepted to Christopher Newport University but is also considering applying to and attending Virginia Commonwealth University.
“I always liked math, like solving problems and equations,” Graves said about his decision to pursue accounting. “I’ve been really good at math all throughout school. I think it’s interesting when you work with plugging in numbers and financing, it’s like a never-ending equation. I love that, it keeps me thinking.”
“(Travon) accepts challenges that other students ignore,” Graves’ English teacher Hallie Powers said in a recommendation letter.
While he decides on a college and juggles his multiple responsibilities, Graves also gives back to the community when he can.
Through his participation in the National Honor Society, the One Club and various other individual community service activities, he spends time giving back to senior citizens, cancer patients and families in need.
Graves donates to the Salvation Army and has worked with Walk Against Hunger, which provides food to those in need.
Graves’ favorite community service projects have been creating a booklet for older citizens through the One Club and the annual Relay for Life event.
The One Club at Graves’ school interviewed older citizens and created a small publication with the information. “It really shows that someone really cares about them,” he said.
As for the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life event, Graves said he likes seeing his effort pay off. “We actually go out and walk for cancer,” he said. “It’s all night, it’s 12 hours, it’s a long walk and it really makes a difference.”