MACON, Ga. — Sparrow Jenkins from Westside High is a cross country runner who's leading the Seminoles through a solid season, but he also wears other hats, including a phenomenal record in the classroom and holding down a job.
For Jenkins, running, is more than just exercise.
"I guess you could say it helps me get my mind off some things when I'm running. It's also kind of a muse for me. It kind of motivates me to be better," Jenkins said.
The course is like a Mona Lisa, giving him one thing to focus on.
"Don't stop. A lot of people stop and walk for a bit. Whatever I'm doing, I just keep going and never stop," he said.
The senior Seminole is full-tilt on the Cross Country and Track courses, holding school records in the 800, 1600, 3200, and 5,000 meters. He's also full-speed in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA and a job at Mid-South Credit Union in Macon as a bank teller.
"I was always taught that education is the way out, so I've always wanted to work to keep money in my own pocket as soon as possible," Jenkins said.
Sparrow has been working since he was 14 -- first, mowing lawns in the summertime, and now, at the bank. He says it's helped him develop as a person.
"It's definitely helping me with my social skills as far as not being a social butterfly. It's helping me break out of that mold," he said.
Some of the money Jenkins tucks away for later, other times, he helps his mom pay bills. His coach, Candice Roberson, says the responsibility will last long after he leaves Westside.
"It's just preparing him for life, so when those adversities come in his lifetime, he'll know how to handle them and work through them without any issue," Roberson said.
Roberson said Jenkins brings his work ethic from his office to the track for all his teammates to see.
"He sets a great example," Roberson said. "Every time he hits that course, he's running 100 percent, and most of the time, he's in the lead, so they do follow."
Jenkins rarely ever sits still. On top of his running, school, and work duties, he also volunteers for Westside's Beta Club and is an active member of the school's STEM Club. Anything other than forward progression is unsatisfactory.
"I feel like if I'm not moving at all times, then I'm wasting time that I could be spending doing something else, getting better or bettering myself as a person," Jenkins said.
Jenkins is saving his job money to get a new car after graduation, and he wants to attend either Mercer University or Georgia Tech to study software engineering.
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