By Janeal Downs
When Darrius Giles was little, one of the first games he ever watched was a playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. “I saw Kobe Bryant play and from then on, I just loved the Lakers,” Darrius said. Not only did he love the team, but the overall sport of basketball. Playing basketball became, and remains his favorite pastime. While he isn’t playing this year, Darrius serves as the manager of his school’s varsity basketball team. Not only does he have fun attending all of the games and helping the players prepare, but he is also preparing for his dream of one day working as a physical therapist.
He first became interested in physical therapy when he began volunteering at the Golden Living Center in Petersburg. “Assisting in their physical therapy department honestly helped me gain a better sense of well-being,” Darrius stated in an essay. “These five years I’ve spent with them have truly been a blessing.” From helping the staff to spending time with the elderly, he learned a lot as a volunteer and plans to continue learning more by studying physical therapy in college.
Though he is not sure of which school he will go to yet, some of Darrius’ top choices for college are Roanoke College, Lynchburg College, Virginia Commonwealth University and Norfolk State University. He is also considering attending Richard Bland College before transferring to a four-year institution. One thing Darrius does know is that when he goes to college he wants to continue playing basketball, whether as a walk-on player for the school team or through intramural basketball.
While he is still in high school, Darrius currently has a 3.9 GPA. “No matter how stressful my life can become, I’ve learned how important it is to have a positive mindset,” he stated. “Since this is my final year of high school, I’m absolutely focused on building a bright future for myself.” One lesson he will take with him to college is that all hard work will pay off. Along with his volunteer work at Golden Living Center and as the basketball team manager, Darrius is a member of the National Honor Society where he is the co-treasurer. He has also been involved in the Metropolitan Baptist Church Youth Ministry through their youth choir, Boys 2 Men organization and Youth Usher Board for many years.
Darrius described himself as hardworking and humble. One of his biggest influences to continue chasing his dreams is his grandmother, Rosa Hawkins. “She had passed the week before we got out of school last school year and ever since then I just got to do what I got to do to make her proud,” Darrius said. No matter what obstacles he may face, Darrius said he plans to always keep going because it’s important to “do what you have to do to make it.”