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October 30, 2013

A Valiant senior class:

Part one of a in-depth look at Valwood’s 2013 senior class

HAHIRA — James Braswell, Seth Carlo, and Daniel Costello Jr. make up part one of the series:

In his second season anchoring Valwood’s defense, senior James Braswell III is a presence that cannot be taken lightly.  What makes him even more impressive, however, is that his junior year of high school was actually his first time ever playing organized football.

“He has really worked himself into a great player,” Head Coach Ashley Henderson said. “He has become a valuable and instrumental piece of the team here (at Valwood).”

A versatile athlete, James sees action at the linebacker and wide receiver and has also settled back into a significant role playing defensive end. 

This season, James has recorded 16.5 tackles, including 11 solo tackles and two sacks.

James appreciates his role as a leader for the Valiants and hopes that his determination and work ethic leaves a lasting mark on his younger teammates.

“I tell them that you can’t ever give up on anything; you have to work hard if you want to be the best,” Braswell said. “No matter how good you are, you can always be better, whether it’s academics or football.”

James’s talent on the field is complemented by his distinction in the classroom.  He currently holds a 3.92 GPA, one of the highest averages in the school.

“One of the first conversations that I had with James (last year) was about academics,” Coach Henderson said. “When I first told him that we have daily study hall sessions, he said ‘Good, because I’m working to be valedictorian.’”   

James plans to attend Stanford, Georgia Tech, or North Carolina A&T and eventually become a computer programmer.

“I would like to get a degree in computer science,” Braswell said. “If possible, I would also like to obtain a double major in mathematics.”

James greatly appreciates everything that Valwood has to offer, both athletically and academically.

“I love the academic challenge here (at Valwood),” Braswell said. “I have always been the type of student to strive to go above and beyond, and this school provides me with the opportunity to excel.”

James is the son of James D. Braswell II and Carmella Braswell.  He has two sisters (Carmen Carter and Cameron Braswell) and one brother (Cedric Carter).

Senior Seth Carlo is the epitome of leadership. 

In all that he does, Seth strives to be the best. His values and morals are his strongest characteristics and he knows that his actions set examples for his teammates to follow.

“I always tell the guys to lead by example,” Carlo said.  “A leader’s words mean nothing without action.”

After transferring from Lowndes High School, Carlo earned the starting spot at quarterback in his first season with Valwood. He has led the Valiants to a perfect 8-0 record and has the team poised for yet another deep playoff run.

Thus far, he has completed 64 percent of his passes (103-161) for over 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns.

“Seth came to us (from Lowndes) and has exceeded everybody’s expectations, both on and off the field,” Coach Henderson said.  “He volunteered his free time to help our Headmaster (Dr. Darren Pascavage) fix an elderly woman’s front porch. That’s just the kind of guy he is and I’m proud to have him here.”

Carlo currently holds a 3.5 GPA and plans to attend college, where he would like to pursue a degree in business management.

Carlo credits Valwood’s academic structure in preparing him for education beyond high school.

“The smaller class sizes (at Valwood) have helped a great deal,” Carlo said.  “The teachers are able to work closer with the students and that helps a lot with learning as a whole.”

Whether on the field or in the classroom, his faith and his actions have given him immeasurable qualities that will last a lifetime.   

“If I could tell the team one thing, it would be to go to the Bible and read Joshua 1:9,” Carlo said. “It tells us to never be afraid or discouraged because God will be with you wherever you go.”

Seth is the middle child of Fred III and Ellen Carlo. He has two brothers, Fred IV and Eli, the latter being a junior linebacker for the Valiants.

Valwood’s offensive and defensive lines are bolstered by the terrific efforts of first-year Valiant and senior lineman Daniel Costello Jr.

Daniel spent most of his high school career in Japan. While overseas, he received numerous awards and honors, including being named an All-American for football, an all-star wrestler and a shotput champion in track and field.

Daniel has quickly grown accustomed to the Valwood way of life and is highly regarded in many different ways throughout the school.

“He came (to Valwood) by way of military leagues (in Japan) and I am excited to have him, but I want people to know that he didn’t transfer here for football,” Coach Henderson said.  “Academically, he fits in at Valwood perfectly. Football is something that he does, but it’s far from who he really is.”

Daniel is also a member of Valwood’s varsity wrestling and track teams, but his gifts extend well beyond athletics. He plays the guitar and piano, and at one point in the football season, his voice could be heard over the PA system at Goddard Field as he kicked off a Valiants’ football game with the National Anthem.

He currently holds a 3.79 GPA and with all of his musical abilities, it is only fitting that he plans to major in Fine Arts when he arrives at Valdosta State University next fall.

Coming to Valwood led to many changes for Daniel. The class sizes dropped, but according to him, the change was quickly embraced.

“Our graduating class is around 40 students,” Costello said. “I enjoy how close (the senior class) is. The smaller numbers allow me to get to know people personally. I feel like I am good friends with just about everybody.”

Daniel hopes that his leadership will leave an impression with his teammates.

“As hard as things get, never give up,” Costello said. “You’ll feel so much better afterwards knowing that you gave it your all.”

Daniel is the youngest child of Daniel Sr. and Ester Costello. He has three older siblings, Timothy, Tina and Danielle.

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