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Grant Lewis keeps his eyes on his goals, which has led him to become a standout athlete and an excellent student. Photo courtesy of The Long Beach Telegram/Scott Varley
Lewis prefers to play defense, where he can use his speed to beat offensive players to the ball and prevent goals. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Dedication and hard work leads to success in just about any endeavor, and those two traits for a high school student athlete will lead to great results on the field of play and in the classroom.
For Grant Lewis, who is a junior at Long Beach Poly High School, hard work and dedication has produced a 4.3 grade point average while taking a number of AP and honors classes, and he has been one of their best players, and a team leader, on the soccer team since he stepped foot on campus.
As a freshman Lewis was named the captain of the junior varsity team. He quickly climbed up the ranks at Poly, and last year he was the only sophomore on the varsity team. He not only made the team, but he was a starter for the entire season.
Heading into his junior year, Lewis’ coaches appreciated his hard work and dedication so much that they named him a team captain.
Success on the field is nothing new to Lewis, who started playing soccer at five years old. His leadership abilities were recognized at an early age, as he was a team captain for a number of the club teams that he played on growing up.
“I’ve always been one of the people that others look up to, and trust in to score or defend,” Lewis said.
Lewis is also confident and he is extremely fast, which has led him to playing more on the defensive side of the field. One of his main jobs is not to allow any offensive player behind him, or they could have a free run at the goal. Soccer is a low scoring game, so every single goal is of great importance. Playing great defense is just as important, if not more important, than playing great offense. So Lewis’ position is vital to the team winning the game.
As a sophomore, Lewis was second team All-League, and he has worked to take his talents to the next level by playing on club teams, where the competition is tougher. Last year his club team coach recommended him for the Olympic Development Program, and Lewis made it past the regional level, but an injury prevented him from making it on the national team for his age group.
This past season Lewis was first team All-League, and his team's MVP. He has been recommended again the Olympic Development Program. Making that team will mean that he is one of the top players in the nation for his age.
Lewis is equally as dedicated in the classroom. Through proper time management, Lewis has stayed on top of his studies.
"I keep ahead of my homework,” Lewis said. “I have a lot of homework, so the homework due on Monday and Tuesday, I do over the weekend. So my schedule is clear for the rest of the week so that I'm not rushing at night. I study for test and quizzes more than just the night before so that I am not cramming, and whenever I can I get together with some friends to study a test."
For Lewis, schoolwork does not stop when he leaves campus, as he does not spend much time watching television or playing video games at home.
“I actually do not have time,” Lewis said. “I get a snack and go straight to my homework. I get home around 5, and I study for about four hours. I take 15-minute breaks every hour. On weekends, it depends. Every night I have at least two hours of calculus homework."
Lewis is shaping up to be a well-rounded person, as he also plays the piano, has been a stand out tennis player, and for a foreign language he went in a different direction than most students who will take Spanish and French. Instead he chose to learn Japanese.
"I guess I wanted to do something different,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of people taking Spanish and French. I think that it will help me in the future, especially in this era with technology, where the Japanese are really developing in the technological field."
When Lewis gets to college he plans to either be an engineering or a computer science major. At Poly he is a member of the solar boat team, which made a boat powered by solar panels. They build the drive train, attaching all of the wiring, and they have to write a report on water conservation.
Lewis has one more passion, which is acting. He is a member of a comedy sports improv team. Each competitor takes a random question or phrase from the audience and has to make a joke right there on the spot. Each competitor has to think fast, be extremely witty, and has to be good at public speaking.
"It's all about spontaneity,” Lewis said. “It defiantly helps with public speaking. In the future it's going to help me get up and talk in front of people when I have to give presentations or speeches. That aspect of public speaking will defiantly come easier."
Lewis recently joined the theater department at Poly, and he is already set to perform in one of the school’s production. It is not that often that an introduction to theater student gets to perform in one of Poly’s plays, which speaks volumes to Lewis’ abilities.
Lewis has a number of colleges on his radar, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Northwestern. He will pursue a degree in a technological field, but he will also minor in theater. His plan after college is to try his hand in acting, but if that does not work out, he will have a degree in a field that has a lot of great jobs to fall back on.
Lewis’ upbringing has played a major role in his life. His father Cornell graduated from UC Berkeley, and his mother Daria graduated from San Jose State.
"My parents are always encouraging me to do homework and do well academically,” Lewis said. “When ever I don't get as good of a grade as I wanted they will sit down with me and talk about how I could have prepared for it more or have done better. They always encourage me to go to talk to my teachers if I did not get a really good grade. They are really involved in my academics. It is really good to have parents who will support you in school. And the same for athletics. They are always on the sidelines cheering me on. It makes playing easier."
As dedicated as Lewis has been to his passions, his parents have been just as dedicated to supporting him, to his education, and to making him a well-rounded person.
"We always wanted to stress education as a very important thing for him to focus on, and to be disciplined,” Cornell said. “We wanted him to be a well-rounded person so we had him involved in a lot of different things. Music, sports. We wanted to instill a love of reading early on, so when he was young we used to read to him all the time, and we got him to read a lot of books. That has carried on to his teenage years, so he loves to read. I think that has helped him with his school work because reading is very important for the mind, and for development and discipline."
With the support of great parents and a drive to succeed, Lewis has a number of paths that he can take, and they all lead to success.