With cross country, track, advanced placement classes, marching band and community service on his resume, one could say Abraham Araya just about does it all.
“I want to make the sacrifices, and all the time and energy invested into me by my family, teachers, coaches and friends worth it, so to give anything less than my best is unthinkable,” Abraham says.
Abraham certainly gives his best effort in the classroom, ending his senior year in the top 10 percent of his class. He has taken 10 AP classes at Chamblee, including AP Biology, and AP Anatomy and Physiology, his favorites. He has also studied German since fourth grade.
Abraham played first chair in the concert band for four years. He was also active in the marching band as the low brass section leader for two years and brass captain his senior year.
His athletic achievements are equally impressive. He began his running career in ninth grade. In spite of obstacles in his first two years, including a stress fracture at the start of his junior year, he “was able to run again, except now the inspiration for running came from within,” rather than the outside pressure he had previously felt.
That inspiration, along with the coaching of his older brother, helped him place sixth at the region cross country meet as a junior, and be named team MVP for helping his team qualify for the state championship. “[Abraham’s] work ethic during the season and off season is incomparable,” said his older brother and coach, Semere Araya.
That same year Abraham set many personal records and broke school records. He was named MVP and placed ninth in the state track meet. He competed in the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, the summer before his senior year.
In his senior cross country season he broke a school record by running a 16:14, and once again led his team to state by placing sixth in the region. But the season also brought more injuries and emotional obstacles. Ultimately he was able to compete in the state track competition and beat his personal record by 13 seconds.
Abraham also found time to be an active member of his community, volunteering at soup kitchens in downtown Atlanta and getting involved with campus beautification at Chamblee High through the National Honor Society.
Abraham was also a Simon Scholar. This is a six-year program that offers SAT classes, leadership and public speaking training, college tours and advising, and provides “a second family and another support group,” Abraham says. He was also a state finalist for the Wendy’s Heisman award and Chamblee’s Coca-Cola Athlete of the Year award.
Abraham will be at Cornell University in the fall. He plans to take pre-medical courses in hopes of eventually going into dermatology. He also wants to keep training to run track and cross country.
This article was prepared by Mary Helen Kelly, a rising sophomore at Furman University.