"He's explosive," says coach David Culbreth. "He is probably the hardest working athlete at Seventy-First."
As a junior, Parham was state runner-up. He said it was because he did not work hard enough to be a champion. This season he was not going to let that happen.
"I told myself that I wasn't going to take any breaks during practice or conditioning," Parham said. "If I made it to the states this year and I lost, it was going to be because the person that beat me was better than me."
From sports to academics, Parham has won respect throughout the school.
"Taj probably gives as much in the classroom as he does on the mat," says teacher Evelyn Shaw. "He is just a wonderful person. Everyday he comes in and he is just wonderful to be around. It's uplifting for me as a teacher to have a student like Taj because he just makes my day when he comes to class."
"He's always been someone that I could say, 'If you want to be good, follow him and do exactly what he does, and you'll be successful.' And that's what has been so special about Taj."
"I just try to show good sportsmanship," Parham said. "They always say that you lead by example and not by words. I just try to keep the guys' hearts up, and if they lose, I try to pump them up for the next time. It's not always winning that counts. It's what you give. If you give 110 percent and you lose, then what can you say?"
Taj Parham of Fayetteville High School is this week's winner of theExtra Effort Award.