By Elizabeth Lowe
TOWSON – While Denny Grace has run cross country as a high-schooler, he has been dribbling a basketball almost since he could walk.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Grace calls basketball “my true passion. It’s a family business.”
A senior at Calvert Hall, Grace hails from a philanthropic family that founded Leadership Through Athletics (LTA), a youth center in Lansdowne. The LTA gym was built in 2004 as a place for youths and adults to gather to better the community.
At LTA, Grace helps kids with their homework and plays basketball with them.
“It’s awesome,” said Grace, 16. “They run up to me. It puts a smile on my face.”
Grace has learned about the poor and the dignity of the human person in school and at church, but volunteering at LTA is faith in action.
“I learn about it in religion class and see the real-life applications at LTA,” Grace said. “We’re still equal in God’s eyes. They have the same dignity I do. I’m not better than them. It reminds us of that.”
Like his brother, father and other family members, Grace attended Cardinal Gibbons School, which closed in 2010, after his freshman year.
“We were a mess when Gibbons closed,” said Grace, who added that “Calvert Hall is a great place to be. I knew God would be looking out for me. I have definitely found my place here.”
At Cardinal Gibbons, Grace ran cross country and played basketball. At Calvert Hall, he added spring track to his pursuits.
“My dad would say cross country would get you in shape for basketball,” said Grace, the youngest of six children who noted “we all had to do it.”
The 5-foot-10- inch shooting guard came up through the recreation and CYO ranks, before joining Maryland Sure Shots, an AAU team.
A parishioner of St. Mark, Catonsville, and graduate of its parish school, Grace holds steadfast to his faith. When he’s away from home for basketball tournaments, he still attends Mass.
“If I miss it, I feel like I’m missing something,” Grace said. “I’m so blessed. I want to thank the Lord for putting me in this position.”
Grace has taken advanced placement and honors courses, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has been a peer educator, teaching underclassmen about “how to succeed at Calvert Hall,” and is also a member of the Respect Life, Latin, Irish, environmental and Avant-Garde clubs.
Grace plans to apply to Loyola University Maryland, University of Maryland College Park and Villanova University (Pa). He hopes to play basketball at Villanova, like his brother, Tom, did.
“Really pumped” for AP economics, Grace plans to major in economics or business.
“I kind of want to be a CEO,” Grace said. “It’s ambitious.”
4.0 GPA, member of National Honor Society; peer educator, member of the Respect Life club; volunteers with Leadership Through Athletics, which was founded by his family; runs cross country and track and plays basketball.
Copyright (c) Sept. 15, 2012 CatholicReview.org