Have you ever met a young man who graduated with a degree before his diploma? Meet Brian Crum. He is no ordinary academic achiever when it comes to being on the top of his game: Crum is a 2016 graduate of Keith High School in Orrville, AL and a recipient of an Associate’s Degree of Science from Wallace Community College Selma. He’s also an athlete and academically focused at the same time. Although, being this driven had its challenges, Crum said he never gave up.
Crum is an example of adding extra to ordinary. It’s ordinary to see students striving for academic excellence because that should be the goal and it’s expected. It’s also ordinary to find student athletes performing at high standards both athletically and academically, but it’s not normal finding an athlete who is at the top of their class as the Salutatorian, Most Valuable Player for more than one sport and balancing college classes in the mix. Properly distributing his time forced him to push late in the midnight hour. “I balanced my schoolwork and athletics by dedicating certain times of the day to certain activities. Sometimes, I’ve had to stay up until midnight studying because my schedule was so full,” said Crum.
You’re probably wondering, exactly how could he obtain a degree while in high school? Spending three years doubling up on high school and college work made it possible. His parents sat in awe as they watched their son walk across the stage to receive his degree. “The feeling was overwhelming because he was getting his Associate’s Degree even before getting his high school diploma. I was very proud,” said his father and head coach of his son’s football team Harry Crum.
Procrastination had no time in Crum’s schedule because he had big goals to accomplish. “I was absolutely elated. I was very proud that he had finished the task he started,” explained his mother Samantha Crum. The student athlete made a huge difference on the field as well. He served as quarterback for the football team and one of the players in the return of the baseball program. The school received it’s first win in baseball since the early 1990’s this year with the help of Crum.
That losing streak came to an end when Crum along with teammate John Pettway caught the final two outs to gain a 12-9 win over Ellwood Christian this past April. This past season was the first time the school has had a baseball team since 1991. He was proud that he could play the first sport he ever attempted before graduating. During his senior year Crum walked away receiving the Dallas County Short Story Award for 2015, Dallas County Math & Science Contest 2015, Class President, Salutatorian, Most Valuable Player Keith High School Baseball Team, Most Valuable Offensive Player for KHS Football Team, Scholar Athlete Award, and the Bryant-Jordan Student Athlete Scholar Award.
Brian’s ability to maintain focus despite the many distractions in his environment is remarkable. Now he is gearing up for his freshman year at Alabama A&M University where he is majoring in mechanical engineering on a full ride scholarship. Why did he choose a Historical Black University? He chose it because he likes how the teachers are genuinely interested in his learning and the enjoyment of his college experience. He really feels at home at A&M and has already formed relationships with a few instructors. Having already gained a college experience he suggests to other freshman to not lose sight of the reason that you go to college. You are there to receive an education so don’t get caught up in the “hype” of being a college student. Crum is sure to leave no crumbs at the table, taking in every opportunity he possibly can.