By Jay Whitehead, Memphis University School
During the summer before fifth grade, Heath Virgin’s life took a turn.
Virgin’s father, Von Virgin, had an announcement for Heath and his two brothers.
“He sat me and my two younger brothers down and explained how he got a job transfer,” Virgin said. “I didn’t know what to think. It was so sudden. I was shell-shocked.”
Von Virgin told Heath and his brothers there weren’t any opportunities in Chesapeake, Ohio, where Heath was born and raised.
“When I lived there, it was fun, but now when I go back it’s just depressing,” Heath Virgin said. “You could barely even call it a town.”
That summer, Heath and his family moved about two hours southwest of Chesapeake to the mid-sized town of Richmond, Kentucky. Heath said he understood how the move from Chesapeake to Richmond would be better for him, but he also presumed that he wouldn’t be able to see his loved ones like he was accustomed to doing.
Virgin had said before he moved he would see his grandmother about every other day.
“If I didn’t spend the night, we would hang out for two or three hours,” Virgin said. “After the move, I would see her every two or three months.”
Not getting to see his grandmother as often was the hardest part of his move, he said. But he said as more time passed “things got a little easier.”
“I started to develop relationships mainly through sports,” Virgin said.
Virgin’s career goals did not change despite being in a new environment with new friends.
“I’ve always wanted to be a sports anchor,” Virgin said. “You sit courtside or in the press box and you talk about sports on live TV. I think that’s pretty awesome.”
Virgin’s relationships with his father, Von Virgin, and his grandfather, Randy Virgin, led him to pursue golf as more than a hobby and ultimately influenced his desire to be a sports anchor.
“A few years back on Father’s Day, we went to go play,” Virgin said. “I played one of the best rounds that I ever played that day. That’s when I knew I wanted to play golf.”
Now, he has been playing golf for three years. Virgin said he used golf to become involved at his new school, Madison Central High School.
Watching his grandfather and his father provide for their families, and their dedication to hard work have shaped Virgin’s understanding of what’s important in life.
Even though he’s now 73, his other grandfather, Tom Davidson, hasn’t slowed down.
“He’s been retired for years, yet he still decides to build houses for the people in need,” Virgin said.
Following his family’s work ethic, Virgin has had a 4.0 GPA throughout his academic career, making only one B. This past school year, Virgin’s transcript was in the top 5 percent of his class.
Virgin was accepted to the Xposure High School Journalism Workshop at Western Kentucky University and will attend another journalism workshop in July in Athens, Ohio. WKYT, a news station in Lexington, Kentucky, offered Virgin an internship for later this year, he said.
Virgin said he believes his work ethic and dedication in and out of the classroom will help him in journalism. Virgin said he is opinionated, and his knowledge and passion for sports will help him a lot.
Although being a sports anchor would be hard to his family because he wouldn’t see them as often, Virgin still decided to pursue the career, he said.
“My father said, ‘Always do what you love,’” Virgin said. “’Whether you make $10, 000 a year or $100,000 a year.’ Always do what you love, and journalism is what I love.”