Classroom Champions: Vanguard's Deven Patel

WACO, Texas (KWTX) When he's not preparing to play football for the Vanguard Vikings, Deven Patel is doing some other school or volunteer-related activity.

He uses his critical-thinking ability to help him in mathematics, and also whenever he's taking part in the chess club.

"Chess is fun but it's a mind game," Patel said. "It's intriguing to do whatever you can to figure out what your opponent is doing and try to beat them to the punch."

The Vanguard senior says math comes naturally to him, and it's a reason why he's considering an engineering future, but he can trace his initial interest to building legos.

"I like organizing things, building things, planning things, and I feel like a lot of that involves engineering."

"Deven's extremely dedicated. He's also a part of our Mu Alpha Theta program," Vanguard algebra and calculus teacher Shelley Johnson said. "He comes in and tutors some of our younger students as well. He's always willing to come in and help others. He's very strong academically in math and I know he wants to pursue engineering in the future and that seems like a good fit for him."

Deven currently has a 4.43 weighted GPA and is the Student Council President. He was once a Providence Hospital volunteer, but one of his most enjoyable activities is volunteering at the Humane Society.

"I've always loved dogs. My parents are a little afraid of dogs, so they've never let me have one. I thought that'd be a good place to go and play with some puppies and do some great work."