Photos by (In courtesy of) David Helms

David Helms basks in the sun in preparation for a new Seahawk adventure at UNCW.

Senior Spotlight: David Helms, a future soaring seahawk

David Helms will soon be moving to a different chapter in his life. He is well-prepared, with recognition of his spirit and great capabilities that allow him to soar at different levels of success in many fields. Helms is a senior at Athens Drive and plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) in the fall of 2023. 

“I’m going to UNCW with an undecided major, looking at either marketing or PR,” said Helms. 

Helms has done many activities throughout high school, allowing him to have a spotlight that will inspire many students to achieve greater things. One of the many skills Helms has developed is learning how to balance his academic and outside life. 

“Things take many attempts to get good at; AP tests and exams have definitely prepared me pretty well. I work, I’ve done boy scouts, and sports in school, so balancing these things has helped me prepare to use those same skills in college,” said Helms. 

This is also Helms’ first year here as he just transferred from his old school; this is another challenge he has to overcome as a senior: learning to adapt his existing skills and work ethic three years into his past school to a completely different environment. He has learned to prioritize and share his advice with other student-athletes as he is qualified in track, cross-country, and basketball. 

“One thing that’s really important is prioritizing school work because I can always get work in, even when I’m mentally tired after school for sports that I play. Coaches also understand how important your academics are. So, if you can just have conversations with them, they usually won’t have problems with you missing practice as long as you can prioritize your academics,” said Helms.

Helms ultimately show that no matter what other extracurriculars or sports students partake in, they can’t do them successfully without having a stable academic foundation. Although Helms is extremely talented and successful in his existing high school activities, like any other senior, he has been a victim of senioritis. He has shared ways he has tried to combat it. 

“I feel like once you’re committed to a college, and especially when you’re done with AP exams, it feels like “what am I really here for,” I think a way to combat that is thinking about how a good ending makes a good beginning. If I just slack off near the end of senior year, building bad study habits and changing who I am as a student, it would be unfair to the teachers and to my future self,” said Helms. 

Helms is ecstatic to start a new chapter while still maintaining his profound student habits. As he reflects on his academic achievements, he couldn’t leave out the fun events that made it into his senior year highlights. 

“We had a Friday night lights cross-country meet, I kind of hate running, but being in the environment and having a loving team was really fun,” said Helms. 

His success doesn’t go unnoticed in classrooms, and his noble academic ability has been recognized by the English Department Co-Chair, Rachel Surles. 

“I’ve been really struck by his insightful comments about what we’ve read in class. He is really present in class. He pays attention, participates, and engages with the texts we read on a very high level,” said Surles.

There is no doubt that his remarkable writing and verbal talent reflect who he is as a person. His attention and respect in classrooms guide him to become a great leader.  

“David is a fantastic writer who always gets to the heart of the matter he’s discussing. There is no surface level with David,” said Surles.

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