If only he had time

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG —  You would have to take Malcolm Butler at his word that the biggest challenge he faced during high school was time. He claims that he’s a procrastinator.  Even when he did managed time efficiently, he said his extracurricular activities prevented him from putting as much time into his studies as he would have liked to. Really?

Malcolm was so busy that he settled for a 4.7 grade point average and only managed to pull an 1840 on his SAT and a 31 on the ACT.

He did manage to squeeze in the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, National Achievers Society, Bay Area Jazz Festival All-Star Drummer, Center For Advanced Technologies Top Ten Student, Excellence in Spanish Language and the Lakewood High School Basketball Academic Award (2013-15).

“As I have grown, I would like to think that I have also grown as a leader. I have often been told that the best leaders hardly ever have to ‘lead’ in the traditional sense,” said Malcolm.

Quoting Nelson Mandela: “Lead from the back—and let others believe they are in front,” Malcolm said that is the type of leader he strives to be.

“I have never been the person to seek out the spotlight, but that doesn’t stop me from making a meaningful contribution,” he said.

Malcolm already has his sight set for future contributions.  He aims to understand the most pressing problems in the world and will do his best to solve them.

Within 10 years, he plans to develop new technologies that will help preserve the health of the world and improve the quality of life for people everywhere. His goal is to attend Butler University and Purdue University to pursue dual degrees in physics and mechanical engineering.

At Lakewood, along with being on the varsity basketball team, Malcolm found time to join the school’s jazz band in his senior year.

“Getting in the class has definitely had an impact on my life,” said Malcolm.

Under the direction of Michael Kernodle, the band director and teacher, they worked to raise enough money to go to New Orleans and compete in a jazz competition.

“Mr. Kernodle is the main reason the trip was possible. He worked tirelessly to raise awareness for the entire school’s music program and made sure everything was in order for the trip. We ended up winning best jazz band, best overall and our bass player won best soloist,” said Malcolm.

Along with a rigorous schedule at school, Malcolm takes time to give back to his community. He is a volunteer at Boyd Hill Nature Center, a Community Tampa Bay Anytown participant and trainer and a leader in his church, New Philadelphia Community Church.

“I’ve been counting money for my church since I was nine years old,” said Malcolm with a smile.  “I’ve never thought much of it, but the members of the church have made it apparent how much they appreciate my small contribution.”

Now a member of the finance committee, he regularly counts the money, keep track of tithes and offerings and fill out deposit slips to keep the church’s finances in order.

“I give my time to causes that interest me. Giving a few hours of my week to my church allows us to save more for the building of our church instead of paying someone to keep track of our income. Hopefully, my contribution will allow the church to make more positive impacts in the community like it has had on my life,” he said.

Malcolm thanks everyone that has helped him to reach this point in his life, including his parents, relatives, friends, church family, teachers and everyone that has ever given him a good piece of advice.

Just image what more this kid could accomplish if he weren’t a procrastinator!

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