There’s an African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” If that’s true, Brian Bradley Jr.’s village deserves lots of applause.
The young scholar-athlete is very modest, but he, too, gives credit for his accomplishments to his village, which includes God first, his parents, Brian Sr. and Jennifer Bradley, as well as his older sister, Bre, who is a junior at the University of Georgia. There are so many others — including teachers, neighbors, church members, friends and community members — who have contributed to the academic and athletic successes of this 18-year-old senior, that he’s not trying to name them, for fear of omitting someone who poured into his life in some way.
Brian, who will graduate this month, has received many academic and sports honors at River Ridge High School. Among his many accomplishments, the defensive end was Cherokee County defensive player of the year as a junior and senior, AJC all-state team both years, and he has received the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame Senior Award and the Vincent J Dooley Award. On May 6, he will be recognized as Most Outstanding Senior Athlete at the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet at Woodstock City Church.
Scholastically, the football standout’s honors include membership in the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club. He is a Cherokee County School Board delegate and a representative for the football team on the Student Athletic Leadership Team.
Despite his many accomplishments, it hasn’t always been easy for Brian; he has had challenges. As he looked back over his high school years, he recalled his biggest challenge was “finding the perfect balance between being an all-Advanced Placement and honors student and being an athlete.”
Another challenge “was remaining humble during all of the recruitments,” Brian said.
Because of his academic and athletic honors, Brian received 13 full-scholarship offers from colleges across the nation. After visiting 19 colleges, he chose the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. This was a tough decision for him, given that both of his parents are diehard football fans of their alma mater, the University of Alabama. So, why the academy?
“The Air Force Academy was one of the first colleges to recruit me,” he said. “And, it offers a plethora of opportunities that interest me. I want to be a commercial pilot, and this is the best way for me to get the education, training and experience needed to become one.”
The final reason for his selection of this college was the football coaching staff. He explained that he sensed a godly presence among them while on campus that he thinks will create an environment that will enable him to succeed.
A spiritual atmosphere is extremely important to this young man. He is an active member of the Factory Church in Woodstock, where he serves on the usher and the compassion teams. He explained that the support and the faith of the church members demonstrate that God will protect him, even while he is in college.
– Margaret Miller has been a resident of Cherokee County for the past decade. Her writing hobby led her to become a columnist for community and daily newspapers.