Quiet Leader with a Heart for Christ
Meet Drew. He's a Senior at Pope High School and I recently had the privilege of doing his senior portraits. I know his family because our daughters are friends and classmates. When I first met Drew, I was struck not only by how ruggedly handsome he is, but also by his polite and gentle demeanor.
I quickly learned that Drew's passion is baseball. He's played the sport for 15 years. Currently, he plays year round for the East Cobb 45's as their short stop and 2nd baseman. Drew says one of the reasons he loves baseball is because he's made a lot of friends through the sport. Drew is also gifted in other sports. He played soccer, baseball, and basketball all three years of middle school and was awarded the Lion Award as an 8th grader. Considered the pinnacle of athlete awards at Eastside Christian School, recipients are chosen based on Leadership, Christlike Character, Attitude, Overall Athletic Performance, Coachability, Courage, and Clutch. When asked about his former player, Coach Tim McDaniel said, "Drew was a very competitive athlete that always left everything on the court. [He] was a quiet leader who let his actions speak for him. [He was] consistent and dedicated." Drew attended Wheeler High School his freshman year, where he played baseball and was named the MVP Freshman. As a Junior at Pope High School, Drew ran track, specializing in the 100 m, the 200 m and the triple jump. He earned a Scholar Athlete Award that year.
Between school, sports, and working 15-20 hours per week at Indian Hills Country Club, Drew stays very busy. Still, he makes time to volunteer with Special Pops where he plays/coaches tennis with teens/adults with special needs. "It's a group of joyful, non judgmental young people and it's a nice break for [the] normal teenage social demands and expectations." Drew senses that the kids look up to the coaches and feels their joy is contagious. This will be his second year volunteering with them. Drew admits that he's kind of quiet until you get to know him. Once he's comfortable, he no longer comes across as shy. In fact, he's very witty, with a dry sense of humor. He's also a good sport, often taking gentle ribbing from his friends. His friends may love to tease him, but Drew manages to balance the scales when he beats them at poker. Although he concedes that he often wins with less than stellar hands, he says he's lucky and unpredictable - keeping his opponents constantly guessing.
Mom says Drew is resilient. "He's had plenty of reasons to quit [baseball], but he hasn't. He doesn't always get the recognition he deserves, but that doesn't stop him." In 2014 Drew and his Dad went on a mission trip through Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. They traveled to the Dominican Republic where he and other participants played baseball with DR teams. Drew said his favorite part was going to the small villages and playing with the kids. He loved earning their respect and sharing his testimony with them.
"It was humbling because they didn't have anything. I learned not to take things for granted."
This fall Drew once again went on a mission trip with Johnson Ferry to play ball and share the gospel. This time to Panama. Drew said of the trip,
"Our group's presence gave many kids and adults the opportunity to hear the gospel. We presented it to many groups including elementary and middle school PE classes after running our activities and after each game to the players and families. Around 30 people made a first time decision for Christ."
Some of his favorite memories were when monkeys jumped aboard their boat while cruising the Panama Canal and started eating their grapes, and when they traded jerseys with the Panamanian baseball players. Drew is looking at several colleges for next year, where he hopes to play baseball. He shared with me that he took a drawing class his freshman year and really enjoyed it. As a result, he's considered going into architecture. On the other hand, he's also interested in Criminal Justice. His keen sense of right and wrong, his desire for fairness, and his curious mind would make him a great candidate for that field of study. Whatever Drew decides to pursue, I'm confident that his heart for Christ and his never-give-up attitude will serve him well. I hope you enjoy these images from his senior session.