Buford High School senior Abe Gonzalez doesn’t see himself as unique. He’s just your typical straight-A scholar-athlete who likes playing video games, listening to music and humbly letters in academics and athletics and scores 4s and 5s on AP exams. At least that’s how Abe sees himself. However, his teachers see him differently.
“Abe is a wildly gifted young man; bright, analytical, and quick,” said Mr. Jeff Gillis, BHS language arts teacher. “He’s a talented writer and debater who frequently provided clever insight on texts that elevated our class’s understanding.”
James Abel Gonzalez, affectionately known to his teachers and peers as “Abe,” is the 18-year-old son of Christy and Victor Gonzalez, big brother to 8-year-old Buford Academy student Destiny Gonzalez and younger brother to Class of 2018 BHS graduate Isaiah Fowler.
Abe was in second grade when he came to Buford. Isaiah had shown excellent performance going into middle school, and Christy and Victor made the decision to move the family to Buford to allow him to have better opportunities. Isaiah received offers from several schools and landed at Mercer University on an academic scholarship, where Abe is considering attending.
“The most influential person in my life is my brother,” Abe said. “While most of my life it felt as if I lived in his shadow, I learned that mine and his actions are independent of each other. However, he set a precedent of excellence that fuels my competitive spirit, so at almost every moment I always strive to do better than him.”
Following in his big brother’s footsteps and blazing his own trail, Abe will graduate from Buford in 2022 with plans to attend college and major in forensic chemistry.
Athletically, Abe enjoys playing football and wrestling for the Wolves. He has played four years of high school football and six years in the Gwinnett Football League. Abe received the JV Coach’s Award and lettered in football, and he has wrestled for the Wolves for three years, winning or placing in several tournaments. He received the award for the highest GPA on the team.
With a 4.0 cumulative GPA and an average score of 4 on his AP exams (5 on AP chemistry, 4 on AP U.S. history, 3 on world history, and a 4 on human geography), Abe has received an academic letter or bar in ninth, 10th and 11th grades. He also received a National Hispanic Scholar Award.
On track to complete the education pathway at BHS, Abe would like to work in forensic chemistry and then perhaps go into teaching, noting the impact his own teachers have had on his life. His favorite class is AP chemistry with Ms. Lisa Cole, however, if Abe stayed in one class all day, he said, “I would definitely stay in Mr. Gillis’s language arts class. Mr. Gillis is a wonderful teacher; he is hilarious and understands how to read the room. I believe that he truly has a connection with his students, and that causes each student to form a bond and consequently learn better.”
As strong as he is academically, Abe cites football as having been the most influential part of his high school years.
“The culture of the program has pushed me to persevere through challenges and helped me to understand that not everything is easy in both life and sports,” Abe said. “The environment of the team has also influenced me to be more friendly and feel a part of the community of Buford.”
Abe would like to be remembered by our community “as a person that was amicable and nice to be around. I want to be remembered as someone who would try to make everyone feel included in a situation or conversation no matter their race or social status.”
The Buford City Schools Student of the Week spotlight is made possible by the generosity of the City of Buford.