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Manor's JT Thomas has goals to go: Air Force for college, and someday U.S. Surgeon General

All about JT: a start on the field and in the classroom

What does being the valedictorian of Manor High School mean to you?

It means that I can do anything that I dedicate myself to. From a young age, my family has instilled in me that education is more important than any other aspect of my life. Being able to put in that hard work through all four of these years and having something to show for it at the end feels amazing. And being an athlete on top of that makes me even more proud of myself.

Manor center JT Thomas is wearing the gold medal he received for being named valedictorian of his senior class. He will further his education and play football at the Air Force Academy. After that, he aims to go into medicine.
Manor center JT Thomas is wearing the gold medal he received for being named valedictorian of his senior class. He will further his education and play football at the Air Force Academy. After that, he aims to go into medicine.

If you could be any super hero, who would you be?

I’d be Black Panther. I’d choose him because I always admired how family-oriented he was, and the relationship that he had with his sister was pretty much the exact same as the one that I have with mine.

What has been your favorite vacation?

It's when I went to Washington, D.C., this past summer. I won an essay contest and was sent to represent Bluebonnet Electric as part of the Government Youth Tour. I was accompanied by about 100 other Texans, as well as high schoolers from 35 other states. This trip was so memorable to me for two reasons. The first is because I was selected to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the second is because it helped me realize that I want to build a career in Washington, D.C.

More: James Keller leading renaissance at Manor High

Tell something about you that most people don't know.

Despite the fact that I always seem to have a microphone in my hand, I am actually really shy. I don’t enjoy large groups or even introducing myself to more than one person at a time. I’m slowly working on being more vocal.

Manor lineman JT Thomas wants to attend medical school upon his graduation from the Air Force Academy. He aspires to do a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine.
Manor lineman JT Thomas wants to attend medical school upon his graduation from the Air Force Academy. He aspires to do a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine.

Goals to go: JT Thomas has a plan

You're going to study and play football at the Air Force Academy. What are you looking forward to the most?

I am most looking forward to becoming part of the “Bolt Brotherhood,” which, according to my new coaches, creates extremely strong and long-lasting bonds.

What do you want to do after you graduate from the academy?

I want to attend medical school, complete a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, and finally a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine. This pathway will lead me to becoming a maternal-fetal medicine physician, which is a specialized OBGYN who can manage high-risk pregnancies.

Why this route?

This field first intrigued me because of the many women in my life who have miscarried or died during childbirth, and my interest was deepened when I found that these plights were three times more common in Black and indigenous women. My final goal is to become Surgeon General of the United States so that I can create change for people across the country.

What advice would you give a young football player who aspires to play in college someday?

I'd tell them they need to be coachable. I played offensive tackle in little league, middle school and my freshman year. I finally got moved up to varsity during my sophomore year and in the middle of my very first practice, our coaches yelled out that they wanted to “try something different.” They ended up moving me to center, which I had never played. Now, three seasons later, I’m going to college to play center. If I had been stubborn back then, I probably wouldn’t have had much interest from any college, let alone the Air Force Academy, Rice, Navy, and Prairie View A&M University.

Dream dinner: an important guest list

If you could have dinner with any four people in the history of the world, who would they be?

I'd want to be with Jesus Christ, Malcolm X, Florence Griffith Joyner and my great-grandfather, Lorenzo Fowler, before Alzheimer’s took his memory and personality.

Why did you choose Jesus?

I chose to have dinner with Jesus Christ because I really want his opinion on my current life and the way that I’m living it. I don’t know if I’d want to hear about my future because that seems more of his business and not necessarily mine, but I’d love to hear any thoughts and critiques he has for me in my current state.

— Rick Cantu

Some of our other Faces off the field interviews

JT Thomas will be our final football player interviewed for Faces off the field this year. Here are other Austin-area football players we featured this school year: Hyde Park TE Carter Braugh, Liberty Hill FB Ben Carter, Anderson QB Brady Gephart, Weiss QB Jax Brown, Hays DL Dorien Hill, Liberty Hill RB Jaxson Hines, Rouse WR Judson Mann, Pflugerville OL Max Mendoza and Crockett WR Jamari Wilson

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Faces off the field: Manor senior center JT Thomas