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Idabel’s Clayton Loard – Academic Spotlight – Presented by Mandy Knowles – Shelter Insurance

At Idabel High School, a freshman named Clayton Loard is making a name for himself not only on the football field as a proud Warrior but also as a key member of the academic team. The journey into the world of academic competitions began in middle school, where the encouragement of Mrs. Carla Tatum, a guiding force, planted the seeds of curiosity. “Mrs. Carla Tatum was one of my middle school teachers, and she encouraged me to join the academic team when I got to high school,” Clayton said.

Reflecting on his early days in the academic team, Clayton recounts a memorable experience that encapsulates the camaraderie within the team. “A memorable experience would be my first meet as a freshman, when I found myself sitting at the table with the upperclassmen competing for Idabel High School. They included me from day one and immediately made me feel part of the team.”

For Clayton, the heart of academic competitions lies in subjects like history, geography, current events and science. His fascination with these topics is deeply rooted, crediting his teachers for sparking an interest in history and science. To prepare for meets, Clayton adopts a multifaceted approach. “I prepare for academic meets by watching the news, documentaries and random YouTube videos. Mrs. Tatum helps prepare us by having scheduled practices. I try to make the most out of these practices.”

Participation in the academic team extends beyond intellectual growth, fostering meaningful connections. “I have been able to meet and get to know many students that I may not have had the opportunity to get to know,” Clayton reflected.

Balancing academic team commitments with other activities is second nature to Clayton, who simply says, “I just do it.” His involvement in various extracurricular activities has instilled a natural rhythm for juggling responsibilities.

As for the future, Clayton envisions a path that leads to college, medical school and eventually working at St. Jude’s as a hematologist/oncologist. Having been a patient at St. Jude’s since age four, Clayton aspires to give back and support other children facing medical challenges. “Being on the academic team has given me the confidence to know that I will be successful in whatever future aspirations I choose.”

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