ST. PETERSBURG FL — The Lakewood Spartans athletic program has a rich history when it comes to producing great athletes since the 1970’s with David Booze, Tron Armstrong. Who both, went on to have brief professional NFL stints. Furthermore, Ernest Givens put Lakewood on the map with his superior football skills. The list could go on and on. However over the last several years they have produced some stellar student athletes. The 2010-2011 graduating Class produced an African-American male, which was Mike Singleton who was the class Salutatorian.
In 2011-2012 they have not missed a beat when it comes to athletes who perform in the classroom as well on the gridiron. Tahrell Jones, who was a two year varsity starter on the football team and he also ran track was recently named the Valedictorian of his senior class. He is the son of Mr. Tarvin Jones Sr and Ife Davis-Bailey. Jones boasts a 1300 SAT score along with a weighted 4.3 GPA. Jones future plans are to attend the University of Central Florida on an academic scholarship, with intentions to walk on the football team. Currently he has his eyes set on majoring in Biology.
Jones started playing youth league football with the Gibbs Junior Gladiators under Paul Haywood who laid the fundamental ground work. However Jones says, “The biggest influence among my coaches was Rod Williams, who took the time to mentor me and instill positive morals and values.” Jones does not consider himself as the typical Valedictorian because he did study but not quite as hard as some would think. He says, “I hung out with my friends at the park, however I learned how to prioritize and make good use of my time.” “Family played a role in my academic success,” said Jones. “God and school are very important to me as well.”
Jones’s father was a very good football player in his own right. Tahrell also has a brother who is a starting corner back at Carson Newman in Jefferson City, Tennessee, who is due to graduate next year.
Here is a well known fact; the Pinellas County School System has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst African American male graduating rates in the country. If we can produce more Tahrell Joneses and Mike Singleton’s this counties African American graduating rate will increase dramatically!