JaCarri Tollette | Hot Springs Teen defies ‘dumb jock’ stereotype

By Eliza Gano Published January 31, 2010 at 1:33 a.m.
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— JaCarri Tollette, 18, might have some serious skills on the basketball court, but his skills in the classroom are just as impressive.

A senior at Hot Springs High School, Tollette has a 4.3 grade-point average, lists biology as his favorite subject and is working to complete his International Baccalaureate diploma. He also serves as president of the Student Council and the senior class.

"I think good grades show how hard you work," Tollette said.

His work ethic is also shown on the numbers he produces on the court. As a junior, the 6-foot-6-inch, 185-pound post player averaged 14.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.

His playing has attracted the attention of several schools, including Centenary College of Louisiana, John Brown University in North Little Rock and Dallas University. Hisacademic prospects aren’t too shabby, either.

He’s received interest from the University of Arkansas, Baylor University in Texas and Louisiana State University.

He’s the nice, well-mannered kid who answers questions with a “yes, ma’am” and is close to his younger siblings - sister Karis, 8;

brother Ethan, 4; and sister Ja’naisha, 3.

He’d love to finish his senior year on a high note. During his junior year, he was vice president of the Student Council but didn’t accomplish as much as he wanted, so he ran for president with the goal of creating more events at school.

“We’ve had our first Powder Puff game this year, and that was a blast,” he said.

When basketball season ends in March, Tollette will lace up for track-and-field season, during which he will compete in the high jump, 100-meter relay and 800-meter dash. All the work he’s doing now is just the groundwork for his future.

“I want to be successful one day,” he said.“I don’t see any point in letting life pass me by.”Biggest influence: Grandmother, Julia Bridgeman

One thing you want to accomplish in life, but haven’t yet: I want to obtain a college degree.

None Eliza Gano can be reached at .

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