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can’t im­pose our be­liefs, even if they are based in sci­ence, on peo­ple with­out first sit­ting down with them and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with them, that’s the key, that’s the real key to suc­cess” in tack­ling health is­sues na­tion­wide, he said.

Born in Orange, N.J., Jerome Adams is the sec­ond oldest of Richard and Edrena Adams’ four chil­dren. His fam­ily moved back to St. Mary’s County in 1979 after his fa­ther got out of the mil­i­tary. The Adamses live on a roughly 40-acre fam­ily prop­erty in Me­chan­icsville that was pur­chased by Richard Adams’ grand­fa­ther, Theodore Thomas, a cen­tury ago.

Jerome Adams went to White Marsh Ele­men­tary

School, Mar­garet Brent Mid­dle School and then grad­u­ated in the top 5 per­cent of his class at Chop­ti­con in 1992.

When he was in high school, he was a mem­ber of the school’s singing group the Peace Pipers for four years. He was class pub­li­cist for one year and the school’s field hockey team man­ager for three years. He also played foot­ball, baseball, in­door track and out­door track. He was on the honor roll all four years and he grad­u­ated from high school with a num­ber of awards and schol­ar­ships un­der his belt.

“He had a bub­bling per­son­al­ity,” re­tired Chop­ti­con teacher and coach Nancy Bot­torf said. Bot­torf coached the girls field hockey team when Adams was its team man­ager. “When you met him, he would boost you up if you were down.”

De­scrib­ing Adams as

“very trust­wor­thy,” Bot­torf said when­ever she asked him to do some­thing, he not only did it, but also made sure it was done well.

“He stepped up to the plate,” she said. “He was a busy kid who hap­pened to make good grades and man­aged to be lik­able.”

Bot­torf also de­scribed her for­mer stu­dent as a “neat­nik” who was al­ways “well dressed” and “well man­nered.”

His fa­ther said that side of his son may have come from his pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents. His grandmother, Sarah Adams, used to iron her bed­sheets and pil­low­cases.

“His grandmother used to say ‘you don’t have to have a penny in your pocket, but if you are clean and well dressed, peo­ple are more likely to ac­cept you,’” Richard Adams said.

Dur­ing Jerome Adams’ se­nior year at Chop­ti­con,

the fa­ther and son would go to malls in An­napo­lis and Glen Burnie to shop for out­fits be­yond lo­cal items in the county.

“The other kids in school would bid on the out­fit he had,” Richard Adams said. It wasn’t so much about mak­ing a profit, but more about al­low­ing him to wear new out­fits. “He set his own style and his own tone,” his fa­ther said. “Once you do that, peo­ple ac­cept you and em­u­late what you do.”

As a mem­ber of the Peace Pipers, Adams sang “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” at his high school com­mence­ment along with three fel­low grad­u­ates.

Steve Ra­ley, who runs a car deal­er­ship in Wal­dorf, sang that song with Adams at the com­mence­ment. The singing group was a “close-knit fam­ily,” Ra­ley said. He and Adams knew each other

since mid­dle school and were good friends.

“Ob­vi­ously, he was very stu­dious from early in school,” Ra­ley said. “Every­body knew he was go­ing to do big things.”

As gifted as he is, Ra­ley said Adams “was a nor­mal kid.”

In order to not miss out on hav­ing fun with his friends, Richard Adams said his son would get up early be­fore school to fin­ish his home­work be­tween 5 and 6 a.m., even if he had hung out with friends the night be­fore.

“He did the things other kids did,” Richard Adams said. “But he didn’t do it at the ex­pense of his ed­u­ca­tion.”

Com­ing from a fam­ily of hard work­ers, Richard Adams said his son “never de­vel­oped a sense of en­ti­tle­ment.”

Trained as an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist, Jerome Adams was nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for sur­geon gen­eral on June 29. De­scribed as the na­tion’s doc­tor, the U.S. sur­geon gen­eral over­sees a group of thou­sands of health pro­fes­sion­als to pro­tect and ad­vance the health of all Amer­i­cans.

When Bot­torf heard the news of Adams’ nom­i­na­tion, she said she was “speech­less.” The fact that one of her for­mer stu­dents made it to the level he did blew her mind. But “it all makes sense,” she said. “He’s some­one who took the ball and kept go­ing with it.”

Jerome Adams will not be do­ing in­ter­views be­fore he is sworn in, ac­cord­ing to Evelyn Stauf­fer, press as­sis­tant at the Of­fice of the As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary for Pub­lic Af­fairs of the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices. His swear­ing-in date is yet to be de­ter­mined.

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