By Elaine Pool

Middle school can be tough.  Really tough.  Middle schoolers sometimes can feel stuck between being a kid and being a grownup, or at least a teenager.  There are major biological changes going on, like hormones, acne, hair growing in new places, and those ever-popular mood swings.  Then there are the girls, or boys, that enter the picture and make life even more complicated.  But there’s one middle school student who doesn’t seem fazed by all this adolescent confusion, who’s making it look pretty easy.

SB Magazine’s Student of the Month is a middle schooler named Travius Taylor.  Travius is in the eighth grade at Turner Elementary-Middle School in Shreveport.  Travius’ English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, Elizabeth Pruitt, nominated him for this month’s student focus.  Ms. Pruitt is quite proud of Travius, stating that he has good grades, is shy and quiet, and works hard.  Ms. Pruitt said this about her student: “He has a good, strong, work ethic and good manners.  He is everything you would want in a student.”

Travius is a basketball-loving student; he enjoys playing basketball video games, as well as playing live basketball.  His position is small forward, which puts him in the company of basketball greats Julius Erving, LeBron James, and Larry Bird.  His plan is to continue playing basketball in high school and beyond; his immediate goal is attending Huntington High School and making their team.  Travius is looking forward to high school and plans to play basketball for the NBA eventually.

A quiet, shy student, Travius is the older brother of several sisters, 2 of whom live in the home with him, and one brother, who lives with their father.  Travius’ favorite food is spaghetti, and he likes to work math problems; he says that Math and Social Studies are his favorite subjects in school.  He gave a “shout-out” to his ELA teacher, Ms. Pruitt, and his Math teacher, Ms. Murray. While he is thinking of using his math skills for banking or other financial activities, his one true love remains basketball.  Travius comes alive when asked about basketball. 

He easily names his favorite college and professional teams and has stated that he’d like to play for Alabama someday.

Travius says he is reading the Harry Potter series when asked about literary interests.  The last movie he saw was the Barbie movie, due to the influence exerted by his younger sisters.  He enjoys spending time with his grandmother and said that they play one-on-one basketball frequently.  His grandmother often beats him in the games, in no small part because she played basketball herself.

When asked about middle school versus elementary school, Travius said that elementary school was much easier; middle school requires more work.  Sometimes he will complete extra work or make-up work to help keep his grades good.  ELA is the hardest for him, due to having to remember so much of what he reads.  Science can also be difficult because he must remember equations for various chemicals in that class.

Travius doesn’t seem bothered by all the possible travails that accompany adolescence.  He is an easygoing boy who knows what he must do to keep his grades up, does it, and moves on to the next thing.  While he doesn’t currently have a girlfriend, he doesn’t seem worried about it.  Basketball is his “center;” it keeps him grounded in his core, and is helping him be successful at school, much to the delight of his teachers.  We should all be so fortunate!