As an all-state cross country runner and the number one student in his class, West Lauderdale senior Robert Billups is everything one looks for in a student athlete.
"I started running when I was in fourth grade. I just enjoy every aspect of the sport," says Billups. "It's very much about self motivation, and there's no sport that has a correlation between the amount of time you put into practice and your performance during a competition. I think that's really cool.
"Robert has been the role model athlete from day one in the seventh grade," says Knights cross country coach Doug Ishee
Robert also made all-distrct four years in a row and set a 5K personal record of 18 minutes and five seconds.
But Robert really impressed when he scored a 34 on his ACT.
"He's a diligent worker," says math teacher Tim Caldwell. "He's prompt. In speaking of Robert as a student... what more could you ask for?"
When he's not mastering the art of building bridges or diving into classic literature, Robert is an Eagle Scout, a lector at St. Patrick Catholic Church and a pilot who has logged over 100 hours in the air.
In all activities, Billups is a leader.
"Last year his leadership was outstanding," says Ishee "He always led the team in warm-ups, practice and every event we went to. He always helped his teammates, and they look up to him and respect him for that... He has always been an outstanding athlete."
"He helps others in class," says Caldwell. "I've witnessed on many occasions -as I taught- him spend as much time helping the other students in the class as working himself."
Billups is part of West Lauderdale's History club and Math and Science team. He's also grown gardens for a homeless shelter.
He will attend the University of Notre Dame this Fall.