Parker Barrett is a typical student-athlete.
He played basketball at the JV and varsity level as a guard. He worked out in the weight room with his teammates, who recognized him as a leader on the court. He won Loudoun County High School’s prestigious Raider Award.
But in playing basketball, Parker overcame a hurdle that his teammates didn’t: He was born with deformed hands.
Despite this, Parker never asked for any accommodation or special treatment from the school. When asked why he didn’t, he shrugged.
“It’s the way my parents raised me,” he said. “I have two brothers. They let me do everything they do. So I’ve always tried to do everything they do without any help from outside resources.”
Parker’s coach Mark Alexander said his teammates didn’t think Parker was different.
“Kids looked up to him, and he was a great leader for us,” Alexander said. “He was a good ball player. He played a lot of games for us and he helped us out a lot.”
On top of being involved in basketball, Parker maintained a heavy course load. This year, five of his classes were advanced placement, and combined with AP exams passed last year, he maxed out on the number of transferrable credits for college.
Parker said the workload was sometimes overwhelming, but he always managed to “tough it out.”
“I feel like I almost have a chip on my shoulder, sometimes, because of my situation,” he said. “So I’ve always tried to adapt to my situation, and that’s where my drive comes from.”
Parker will attend Virginia Tech this fall, where he plans to study biomedical engineering.