CHARACTER COUNTS

Arcadia High School’s Grant Loftin leads in lacrosse and beyond

Nov 21, 2016, 6:30 PM | Updated: Jan 23, 2017, 3:50 pm
Grant Loftin (Courtesy Grant Loftin)...
Grant Loftin (Courtesy Grant Loftin)
(Courtesy Grant Loftin)

Senior Grant Loftin wears many hats, but it’s clear he ties the experiences from many of his interests together.

It shows in his most ambitious commitment as captain of the Arcadia High School lacrosse program, where his leadership goes beyond his talent. The senior founded the team and has seen it grow from just more than 20 players on a junior varsity team to a Division I program. A youth program ajoining the high school team saw about 80 players appear at its first practice last week.

The growth and success has much to do with the coaches, but Loftin has also created a prideful culture. Unlike teams like football or basketball, the lacrosse squad is self-funded.

“We’re trying to create community involvement for our team,” Loftin said.

The lacrosse players walk into local businesses seeking community support, and the efforts have even given the program enough funding to offer scholarships for players who aren’t able to afford lacrosse. For the varsity club, the success paid off when it won a Division II title last year.

Now, the Titans are trying out Division I.

“It’s definitely taught me to be a bit of a salesman,” Loftin said of fundraising for the registered nonprofit team. “It’s definitely taught me to be more comfortable with who I am and who I stand for.

“(The players) have some part of themselves invested in it, just not involving practice. Taking your free time away to go work on this really makes you have more pride in the team.”

How Loftin built success for a club team goes back to what else the senior stands for.

A peer tutor and soccer referee, Loftin also invests his time heavily in charity work. He served two years as president of Boy’s Team Charity, which does local philanthropy work. Through The Welcome to America Project, he helps refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, settle in the United States.

Loftin volunteers for Packages from Home, which creates care packages for soldiers abroad.

He said that charity is especially important to him. After high school, he’s hoping to be appointed to a United States service academy to get his education.

Loftin believes he can apply much of what he learned working as an intern for Sen. John McCain’s election staff and use it to help improve fundraising efforts for his lacrosse squad.

In addition to his captain-ship, Loftin is president of the lacrosse club, which ties the athletic side of the sport to life lessons. At Arcadia, he’s senior class treasurer, ethics director and student ambassador.

“I have a lot of pride in my school,” he said. “It’s definitely been a place where I’ve been able to find myself and be comfortable myself.

“I really like to stress the importance of being yourself in high school,” he added of the ambassador program. “I really love being involved with that.”

Outside of school, Loftin is an altar server at St. Theresa Catholic Church and has been since 2009. He’s one of the oldest at his position and refused the option to leave the appointment.

“I really believe having a background in faith has shaped my decision-making,” Loftin said.

As a leader, whether it’s through charitable work or in the community, he’s tried to leave a lasting impression on others.

Even through the lacrosse program he founded, Loftin’s impact has proven lasting just three years in.

One middle school classmate he recruited to the lacrosse club and mentored as a player is a fine example of that. The classmate now has the opportunity to play lacrosse on a Division-III scholarship, Loftin said.

“Being able to see that lacrosse made a difference with him … to see how much he’s grown is really humbling,” Loftin said.

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Arcadia High School’s Grant Loftin leads in lacrosse and beyond