Athlete Worth Watching: Henry Parkhurst of Gunston School
Sep 14, 2017 10:27AM ● Published by Caley Breese
Photo by Jessica Newell
If you asked Henry Parkhurst to lend you a hand, it’s pretty much a guarantee that he would say yes. Parkhurst, who hails from Centreville and attends Gunston School, is a very active and involved student-athlete, excelling in three sports, academics, and multiple extracurricular activities.
The 16-year-old, who will be a senior this fall, plays soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. He began playing soccer when he was just four-years-old and lacrosse when he was about eight. Seeming to have a close connection with his father, Parkhurst explains that he was the one who really got him involved in sports.
“I was kicking the ball around with my Dad and it was kind of like…all little kids play soccer. And I just fell in love with it because I’ve got a little knack for competition,” Parkhurst says with a laugh. “And lacrosse is something that my Dad always wanted to play himself, but he never did. So I was set on never playing lacrosse. I was like, ‘Why would I play lacrosse?’ And then one day he bought me some pads and threw me into a practice, and ever since, I’ve been playing. He kind of motivated me against my own will, but I loved it after the first day.”
As if being a three-sport athlete isn’t a lot to take on, Parkhurst is also on the High Honor Roll, is All-Conference for both soccer and lacrosse, will become the president of the National Honor Society his senior year, participates with Model United Nations, is a Student Ambassador for the school, and he founded the Debate Team at Gunston.
“Debate team was kind of my brainchild because I came to a high school, and I figured, ‘Well hey, I’m going to join the debate team!’ I like talking and along with sports, I like the competitive side of it,” Parkhurst describes. “And we didn’t have a debate team, so I went to our headmaster, Mr. Lewis, and I said, ‘Here’s what I want to do. This is my plan; I’d like to have a debate team.’ And so now we have a team that competes.”
You can say he has a lot on his plate, but he appears to have great time management skills.
“I’ve managed to make it as balanced as I think I can get it. With high school, I play three sports and throughout all of it, I’ve made academics my number one priority,” Parkhurst explains.” At the end of the day, that’s going to get me farthest in life. So I’ve tried to keep my dedication equal to it; so during sports seasons, I typically plan around when I’m going to do my homework because I do have a heavier course load that I just want to make sure that I stay on-top of that.”
Although Parkhurst doesn’t necessarily want to play a sport in college for the school’s team, he would like to continue athletics by playing on a club or intramural. He’s looking at schools like Duke, Wake Forest, or UVA, and is interested in going into international diplomacy.
As for his athletics career at Gunston, Parkhurst looks back on it with a very positive attitude.
“What sports has taught me—and kind of something that our lacrosse coach said freshman year—was we’re going to play with a game that we say, ‘One more.’ And we’re going to make one more pass or one more play, and so even if you think you have the shot, try to give someone else the shot. And that has kind of helped me throughout all sports because I’m not the kid who takes the last shot in the game or anything like that. But just being able to help others around and that being able to see that even the best players on the team, they need those [players] around them. So being able to help other people out is something that I really like to see happen.”