This weeks A+ Athlete comes to us from Bells High School. Derrick Ponder is a standout quarterback on the football field, and is no slouch off the field either. He boasts the number one ranking in his class, and has left an impact on his teachers.
"He's a very conscientious student, gives his best on every assignment, every day. And he works very hard because he's always involved in so many different things, but he always finds time to get his assignments finished and done well," said science teacher Brian Hicks.
And Ponder knows education is important.
"Well education is definitely the first thing .Education has to come first before you can do anything on the court or the field, so definitely that's the highest priority around here for sure."
He leaves his mark on the field as well, starting under center for the Panthers the past two years. He also plays shooting guard on the basketball court. He's received some pretty prestigious honors for his pigskin play, winning district offensive MVP last season, and was an all state honorable mention according to the AP.
"Having a kid like Derrick, a kid that's grown up around the game, you know it's like having another coach on the football. Off the field he does a good job of getting our guys going and he's a pretty good quarterback on top of it," said offensive coordinator Logan Turner.
And athletics have always been a big deal for Ponder.
"It's something I've been around since birth probably. It's something I've always grown up with and it's something I've enjoyed doing since I was real little."
Derricks also works with the Bells High School Pals program. After he graduates, he want's to continue his football career at the collegiate level, and then hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and coach football once his playing days are through.