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May 16—Athletics have played an important role in Felipe Gonzales’ life growing up. Basketball is the first sport he remembers playing and has also competed in cross country, baseball and track and field

But even with his daily schedule loaded with practices, Gonzales made his academics a top priority to strengthen his opportunity to get into a good college. He’s set to graduate 10th in Van Horn’s Class of 2021 with plans on plans on attending Sul Ross State University in Alpine to major in kinesiology. The sports he competed in played a large role in his choice of a major.

“With that degree, I could use it to become a physical therapist,” Gonzales said. “That’s the main goal I want for my future.”

Gonzales collected multiple District 9-1A MVP awards in basketball and addeda district MVP and second-team All-Region selection in football to his credit.

Although he was already balancing academics and athletics, his parents encouraged him to add dual credit classes to his course load.

Nancy Gonzales, a teacher at Culberson County-Allamoore ISD and Felipe’s mother, gave him the initial push to get a leg up before he finished high school.

“From there, he started getting the courses on his own,” she said. “Once he got that push, he took off with it.”

Felipe Gonzales ultimately took enough classes to complete 42 hours of collegiate coursework through Odessa College. He plans to attend a four-year physical therapy school after earning his bachelor’s degree.

Having family influences at Sul Ross made the decision to attend a little easier for Felipe Gonzales, with his mother and sister both graduating from the school. He also hopes to get an opportunity to continue his basketball career but is also preparing for a future where he dedicates himself to academics full time.

“It’s going to be really tough for me, but I think I can make that transition to focus into my academics and my future,” he said.

After he crosses the stage, Felipe Gonzales wants to leave behind a legacy of leadership. He believes he set a good example for those coming after him, especially Van Horn’s upcoming junior class. He made it a point to show his teammates how to enjoy the moment in front of him. That stems back from how he was raised at home.

“He’s not going to show off or do anything like that because I hope we brought him up right,” Nancy Gonzales said. “We’ve always taught him to be humble, be a good leader and always put God first.”

As she thinks about the future, Nancy Gonzales believes her youngest son can go as far as he wants to in life. She originally thought he would study kinesiology and return to Van Horn as a coach, but he wants to take his postgraduate career elsewhere.

Felipe Gonzales’ parents are giving him the extra push and challenge to pursue his dreams, just like they did throughout high school.

“We told him, ‘Show us the good grades, show us that you’re responsible and we’ll help you with whatever you need,'” she said. “If that’s what you want, show us that you’re willing to do it and we’re going to back you up 100%.”

Throughout his playing career, Felipe Gonzales has followed the lead of NBA superstar LeBron James. He considers the All-Star his role model because of his work ethic and drive, trying to mirror those factors on a daily basis.

“It helped me be humble about everything and work hard,” Felipe Gonzales said. “Eventually something great will come my way as long as I keep doing what I’m doing and putting my academics first.”

FELIPE GONZALES

VAN HORN

>> Academic Rank: 10 of 25

>> Sports: Football; Basketball; Cross Country; Track; Baseball

>> Academic bio: Completed Core 42 at Odessa College

>> Athletic bio: Basketball (District Defensive MVP; District Offensive MVP; District MVP; All-Star Game selection); Football (Second Team All-Region; Texas 1A Player of the Week; District Offensive MVP)

>> Activities: Cross country; Basketball; Track; Baseball; Football

>> College and major: Sul Ross State University (Kinesiology)

>> Goals for the future: To get a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and attend a four-year Physical Therapy school

>> Favorite subject: Science

>> Favorite book: Diary of the Wimpy Kid

>> Favorite musician: Lil Baby

>> Role model: LeBron James because of his work ethic and drive to win every game he plays

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