Quiet achiever’s actions speak volumes about him

Education
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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — This week’s FOX 4 Reaching 4 Excellence Young Achiever is a tremendous athlete, a big star on the baseball diamond and the basketball court. He’ll play basketball in college and he’s earned a full-ride scholarship. But it’s not an athletic scholarship. It’s for all the ways he has gone beyond sports.

No story on Taurin Hughes would be complete without focusing at least a bit on sports, especially basketball. Taurin’s running his own basketball camp for young athletes this summer. And as a Missouri All-State player and the career scoring leader at Summit Christian Academy in Lee’s Summit, he certainly has superb skills to share. But people who see Taurin as just an outstanding athlete are missing a lot.

“This is a well-rounded young man,” said Dalton Vann, SCA head football coach and assistant basketball coach who has known and coached Taurin since he was little. “Don’t look at him as just a basketball player. Because he’s not just a basketball player.”

There’s Taurin the caring mentor and role model, helping younger students at SCA build their own success on a strong Christian foundation. There’s also Taurin the talented singer in choir. And Taurin the student government leader. There’s Taurin the good-deed-doer, a driving force on a school group that went to Moore, OK last summer to help in the tornado recovery effort. And there’s Taurin the hard-working scholar getting great grades.

“I think what’s most impressed me with Taurin is his consistency, that he doesn’t get a big head,” said Jake Kates, SCA athletic director and head basketball coach who also has known and coached Taurin since he was very young. “He doesn’t think too highly of himself. He is who he is regardless of what other people honor him with or reward him with.”

“I feel like people see me as kind of an introverted, humble leader,” said Taurin. “I’m not really an outspoken person.”

Taurin doesn’t talk about himself but now his many positive actions have spoken loudly for him. Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. has rewarded him with one of its highest and most lucrative honors — the Truman Leadership Award. Only a few students get it each year. It’s a full ride scholarship — not for athletics but for academics, leadership and all-around high achievement.

“It kind of put all my hard work that I’ve done in school in perspective and the different ways that I could be accepted and not just for playing a sports,” said Taurin.

And the people who know the complete Taurin are not at all surprised he’s become a Truman Leadership Scholar.

“This quote has been attributed to John Wooden,” said SCA principal Emir Ruiz Esparza. “‘When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.’ Listen, Taurin has been preparing for something like this for a long time. The opportunity has come and he just walked through the door.”

An athlete — transcending sports.

Taurin’s amassed his mountain of wide-ranging accomplishments all the while navigating a challenging element of life that most kids don’t have to. He’s the son of a famous parent. His dad is Danan Hughes, former star wide-receiver and special teams player for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fox 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on Fox 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.

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