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Jonathon Croker, a junior at Valencia High School, has been selected to serve as a delegate at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders. Croker is also a three-sport athlete at VHS, and hopes to play college football.

Jonathon Croker, a junior at Valencia High School, has the opportunity to represent New Mexico as a delegate to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders, organized by the National Academy of Future Physicians.

Croker is a multi-sport athlete at VHS and plays football, wrestles and is a thrower for the track and field team.

Croker’s interest in medicine stems from his early enthusiasm in robotics and translated over when he discovered the strong connection between robotics and the manufacturing of prosthetics. That’s when he decided it was a field he wanted to pursue.

Then, thanks to his school counselor at VHS, Croker found out about the congress.

“My counselor told me that they thought this would be a good fit for me,” Croker said. “Based on my grades and everything, they suggested I apply. So I did and, in the end, I was selected as a delegate.”

The Congress of Future Medical Leaders is held three times a year by the National Academy of Future Physicians, with the first one of 2021 taking place virtually on March 20-21.

In order to be considered for the congress, students must have a GPA of 3.5 or better, with an interest to be a physician or go into medical science.

“Jonathon’s nomination was signed by Dr. Mario Capecchi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and the Science Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists to represent NM based on his academic achievement, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine,” a press release on his nomination said.

In addition to his plans to major in biomedical engineering, Croker hopes to play college football. He only began playing the sport during his freshman year of high school in an effort to get more active.

“I planned to start playing in eighth grade, but I suffered a broken ankle, which kept me from playing,” Croker said. “I decided to pick up the sport because I felt like I wasn’t active enough. I wanted something to get me out being active more.”

Currently, Croker said his top schools are Oberlin College, Washington University St. Louis, Carleton College and Montana Tech from the ones he has been in contact with.

Among the schools he’s interested in, not all of them would have a specific biomedical engineering program, but would have a more general program that would require him to transfer later on in order to take more focused classes.

While this year, with remote learning and no competitions for athletics, has been tough on Croker, he is doing his best to remain positive.

“It’s been a really different experience,” Croker said. “I’ve been optimistic and trying to keep positive but it has been difficult at times. I’m just trying to remain optimistic.”

As a member of the class of 2022, Croker still has another year before he moves on to wherever he decides is the right fit.

In the meantime, his focus is on continuing to improve himself and preparing to play college football.

“I just want to keep pushing forward. I’m trying to be the best that I can be,” Croker said. “My ultimate goal is to play college football, so I’m working as hard as I can to get to that point.”

Sports writer

Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.

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