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HUNTINGTON - Zachary Christian is more than just a smart student. The St. Joseph Central Catholic senior has several qualities that makes him special.

"Attitude is his key," St. Joseph principal Bill Archer said. "He is a great and quiet leader. He has a very good personality and is loved by all the teachers."

Christian is one of 33 students from eight schools in the Huntington Tri-State area who have participated in the B4, Be Strong, Be Positive, Be Ready, Believe, youth program to make the honor roll three consecutive times this 2015-16 academic year.

A student body president, Christian has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

"He is an amazing young man who has such a bright future," St. Joseph Counselor Karen Appell said. "Zach never takes life or the things that it has to offer for granted. He is so humble and takes his accomplishments as quiet as his setbacks. He has remained strong, when most teenagers would not be able to handle things."

B4 creators TEAM KRL had a pizza party at three schools for a second straight year to honor those outstanding students. Last year, the nonprofit organization created by Huntington natives and 1990 Huntington High graduates Shannon King, Duane Rankin and Chris Layne, had pizza parties at Huntington High, Paul G. Blazer High and Portsmouth High.

Earlier this month, Huntington Middle School, Huntington East Middle and St. Joe had pizza parties to celebrate the B4 students at those schools for that academic achievement.

Gino's Pizza, a supporter of the B4 program, provided the pizzas.

"The pizza party, as well as viewing the congratulatory DVD sent by TEAM KRL, reinforces that good choices result in positive rewards, both intrinsically and extrinsically, as well as having fun," Huntington Middle Counselor Laura Thackston said. "These are such important life lessons. Research shows that mentorship has the greatest impact on shaping the life of a young person. Huntington Middle School truly appreciates our KRL mentors."

Christian's teachers say he is one of the smartest and brightest students to ever participate in the B4 program that began in 2010. He has accepted a scholarship to attend Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

"For some time, Zach walked to and from school that was quite a distance; but he was the first one at school before 7 a.m. and never the first to leave even though he had that long walk ahead of him," Appell said. "Zach is pleasant, kind and loved by all at his school. He is one of those students who will leave St. Joseph to go on to do great things, but will always be in the hearts of those he leaves behind."

Christian initially stood out at the B4 program for being tall and having a huge afro, but he quickly established himself as much more.

"He's a very smart young man," Rankin said. "Picks up things very quickly. We're very proud of him and truly blessed to have him participate in the B4 program over the years."

On the TEAM KRL website, Christian expressed his appreciation for his B4 experience as the program stresses the importance of education, teaches life skills, people skills, leadership and teambuilding.

"Signing up for the B4 program was one of the best decisions I ever made," Christian said. "It showed me just what people from similar situations and backgrounds like mine could accomplish."

The 2016 B4 program will be May 27-28 at Marshall University from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day with registration beginning at 9 a.m. each day at the student center. The program is for students grades 6-11. To sign up, visit www.teamkrl2010.com.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/teamkrl and follow on Twitter @TEAMKRL.

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