VHS’s Vargas earns prestigious honor

Published 2:27 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Varnado’s Darien Vargas has earned a great honor from the United States Marine Corps.
Vargas was recently selected to attend the Battles Won Leadership Academy in Washington D.C. from July 13-17 through the Marines’ Semper Fidelis (which means “always faithful”) All-American Program. It was announced at a school assembly where the presentation was made.
One hundred students — 50 males and 50 females— were selected from across the country to attend the leadership academy. In order to be eligible for the honor, Vargas had to be nominated. Vargas was nominated by his grandfather Richard Moody.
The potential participants must at least a 3.5 grade-point average, be active athletically, have solid community service and recipients must have the All-American fighting spirit. Only seniors for the following school year are eligible.
Nominees also had to submit an essay on adversity in their life they’ve had to overcome.
Vargas said he didn’t think he would win the award. He was nominated weeks before and wrote the essay on the last day he could.
He talked about adversity he’s had to overcome.
“As far as adversity goes, I’ve come up with my dad being in-and-out of prison,” Vargas said. “Being dyslexic with academics has always been kind of hard. I can do the work, it just takes me longer than most other people with being dyslexic. Also, my size, I’m a little small. For a linebacker, I’m super small, 150-pound linebacker all-district. So overcoming adversity is something that drives me. I just do the best I can.”
Vargas said to push through, you have to be self-motivated.
“You have to want the best for yourself and work hard to get it,” Vargas said.
At the leadership academy, those selected will network with each other and key leaders from all walks of life.
Vargas said his grandparents have always been there for him. Nominees can bring a mentor and Vargas is bringing Moody. The trip is an all-expenses-paid trip.
At Varnado, Vargas has a 3.8 grade-point average. He competes in three sports — football, powerlifting and track and field. He plays wingback, punter and linebacker/safety in football. In track and field, Vargas throws the javelin, high jumps and long jumps and runs the 400-meter dash, and the 4×400 relay.
On the gridiron, Vargas was a District 8-1A first-team linebacker and second-team punter last season.
In track and field, Vargas made the Class 1A state meet at LSU in javelin and finished ninth in the state with a throw of 125 feet, 5 inches.
Vargas also qualified for the state meet in powerlifting.
After high school, Vargas plans on going to a four-year college to get a degree in history education, in order to become a high school teacher and coach.

Varnado’s Darian Vargas shakes hands with Sgt. Joseph Carter after being presented with awards for being selected to attend a leadership academy.