Will Harkness is Buford High School’s student of the week.
Now an 18-year-old senior, Will moved to Buford with his family and began attending Buford Middle School when he was in seventh grade. He is the third of five children belonging to Danielle and Steve Harkness. He attends BHS with his two younger siblings, Kate and Sam. His two older brothers, Jake and Zane, attend Brigham Young University.
Will enjoys a close relationship with each of his siblings and describes it as unique.
“Even when one brother is in Cote d’Ivoire serving on a mission trip and another is in Utah, we still find a way to call and talk,” he said.
A believer in hard work, Will’s diligence and positivity have served him well.
“My parents have both been equally influential in my life whether it’s been in sports, school, or my faith,” he said. “They’ve helped me keep God first and continually work to make me a better person.”
Outside of school, Will spends his free time working out, watching football and playing basketball. He is drawn to sports of all kinds. It’s no wonder Will has found a place of belonging on the football field at BHS, and why it has played such an integral role in his development.
“Football has been, by far, the most influential activity I’ve done in high school,” Will said. “It has taught me to attack adversity head on and has made me physically and mentally tougher.”
He has played four years of varsity football, contributing to three state championships with the Wolves. He has participated for two years in track and field, competing in the 100m, 200m and triple jump.
“Will is a great young man with great character and work ethic,” said David Snell, who coaches defense for the Wolves’ football team and is also Will’s coach in track. “He is extremely intelligent and excels both on and off the field of play! He is a pleasure to coach and be around!”
Will has taken nine AP classes and maintains a 4.0 GPA. He is a Scholar Athlete and National Merit Commended Scholar, and a member of the Beta Club and National Honor Society. He is also on the yearbook staff.
“I’d say I stand out most in mathematically-centered classes such as AP Calculus,” Will said. “I’ve proven that it’s attainable to keep a high academic profile while still being athletically involved.”
Will says he could stay in AP calculus with coach Justin Johnson all day.
“I have some really close friends in that class, and I enjoy Coach Johnson’s humor and the actual material we learn,” Will said.
He cites Ms. Leah Curtright as his favorite teacher, “because of the relaxed style of teaching she has and how close she is with each of her students,” he said.
“I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Will in AP Psychology and in Yearbook,” Curtright said. “He’s a bright, capable, witty, kind, and personable young man who is a lot of fun to teach. I am privileged to have the opportunity to get to know him.”
Determined to make the best out of the last semester of his senior year, Will is narrowing down his choices for college, which presently include attending Stanford or BYU. Speaking of his career ambitions, Will said, “I see myself either in a management position for a sports brand/team or as a collegiate/professional coach.”
He encourages underclassmen, saying, “Enjoy your time in high school because it flies by, but do everything intently because even as a freshman, your actions pave the way for your future.
“I want to be remembered as someone who was a fierce competitor,” Will said, “but also as someone who could brighten others’ days by cracking a joke or asking how their day is.”