Teachers praise him. Athletes emulate him. His high school principal waxes poetic with his name.
Just what is it about Edison High's Kaleaph Carter that evokes such admiration?
The compliments are endless.
"Kaleaph is that type of student every teacher dreams of having in his classroom," John Pawson, an Edison science teacher, said.
"He's a great competitor \o7 and \f7 a great guy--on or off the field," said Fallbrook shotputter Brent Noon, one of Carter's top rivals.
Wrote Edison principal Jack Kennedy in his essay, "What Is a Kaleaph?": "He was probably one of the first in his class to learn a lasting truth--that hard work, dedication, loyalty and perseverance . . . will bring a person success."
Carter, The Times' boys' track and field athlete of the year, is one of the nation's top shotputters. But he holds more in the palm of his hand than a 12-pound steel ball.
At times, it seems, he holds the world.
Those who have known him for a long time--and even those who have just met him--say Carter's modest-but-charismatic personality makes him one of the most popular students around.
Of course, his athletic exploits haven't hurt his reputation, either.
Carter, a 6-foot 1/2-inch, 202-pound senior, dominated the county's shot and discus rings this season. His best mark in the shot--64-0 1/2--earned him his first state title. The mark also ranks him fourth nationally.
In the discus, Carter took second in the state meet at 186-2. That mark was a 35-foot improvement over his best throw last season.
Through the Sunset League season, Carter also ran the 110-meter high hurdles and the mile relay to help the Chargers win the league title.
At the state meet, he helped Edison to a third-place finish, contributing 18 of the Chargers' 22 points.
And in his three years playing football, Carter became the school's all-time leading rusher with 2,563 yards. He accepted a scholarship to play football at UCLA in the fall.
So what does Carter consider to be some of the greatest moments of his high school career?
(Brace yourself, sports fans.)
"Being chosen Edison's business student of the month last September," Carter said. "And being picked youth of the month (an academic achievement award) last June."
Carter is a student's student-athlete. He is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, a national high school association. His favorite courses? Computerized accounting and microcomputer business applications.
His advice to incoming freshmen? "Get your priorities straight. High school is the place to get an education."
And: "Make hard work a habit. There's no time to cruise."
Based on This Season's Results of High School Competitions
Event Name School Time 100 Meters William Dancy Santa Ana Valley 10.6 200 Meters William Dancy Santa Ana Valley 22.10 400 Meters Chris Little Cypress 48.86 800 Meters John Carrow Esperanza 1:52.92 1,600 Meters Jim Geerlings Newport Harbor 4:09.54 3,200 Meters Eddie Lavelle Corona del Mar 9:02.90 100-Meter Hurdles Marc Kallick Marina 14.47 300-Meter Hurdles Anthony Hale Garden Grove 37.37 400-Meter Relay Capistrano Valley 42.28 1,600-Meter Relay Katella 3:22.25 High Jump Andy Lobpreis Western 6-10 Triple Jump Scott Capulong Woodbridge 46-0 3/4w Long Jump Jon Cisneros Los Alamitos 23-7w Shotput Kaleaph Carter Edison 64-0 1/2 Discus Kaleaph Carter Edison 186-2 Pole Vault David Noel Edison 16-4