Teen of the Week: Howard a leader on, off the field

Van Devender Middle School 8th-grader Zachary Howard is this week’s Teen of the Week. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — Van Devender Middle School 8th-grader Zachary Howard has a passion for sports and a drive to succeed.

The 13-year-old began playing a variety of sports about two years ago, and has found his passion in football.

“My goal would be to continue with football,” Howard said. “I want to go to college, probably OSU (Ohio State University).”

Howard primarily plays running back and tight end, but said he can play any position.

“Pretty much wherever coach wants to put me,” he said.

In addition to football, Howard currently wrestles, and has played basketball and soccer.

Howard not only excels athletically but also as a leader. He is captain of the Vandy Blue Devils football team and is co-captain of the Vandy wrestling team.

Principal Darlene Parsons said it is a quality for Howard both on and off the field.

“Zach is a leader for everyone in the school,” she said. “He always has a positive attitude. He always does anything asked of him and never complains.”

Howard is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and a former member of the Vandy debate team. As part of the NJHS, Howard volunteers on community projects and maintains a grade point average of 3.5 or above. His favorite subject is social studies, he said.

Howard said his best friend’s mom, Crystal Meeks, is a guiding force in his life.

“She keeps me on track,” he said. “In 6th grade I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t do anything, was just quiet. In 7th grade, she motivated me to do more. She encouraged me to get into sports, National Junior Honor Society, always telling me I can do better.

“She helps me in my weak spots so I can improve. She helps me set my goals. She just helps me.”


Do you know an outstanding scholar, volunteer, or civic-minded youth who makes the world a better place? Nominate a teen by emailing editor Christina Myer at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com