KINGSTON – Student athletes are being urged to recognise the value of a sound education even as they pursue careers in sports.
This advice came from American National Football League (NFL) player, Jeremy Mincey, who plays with the Jacksonville Jaguars from Florida, while giving a motivational talk to students participating in the upcoming Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championship and their coaches on Friday March 18 in the Banquet Hall at Jamaica House.
Mr. Mincey, who was accompanied by his friend, Kyle Moore, who plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida, said that growing up, his family faced severe financial challenges, which affected his performance in school.
He noted however, that teachers and coaches took an interest in his welfare, and even though he was athletically gifted, he was encouraged to do well in his exams before being allowed to participate in sporting activities at high school.
"You’ve got to pass your classes…you cannot be a dumb athlete, you might shoot the ball in the wrong goal," he remembered being told by one of his coaches.
The successful footballer said he attended junior college for two years after leaving high school and then pursued academic studies at the University of Florida where he graduated with high grades, even though he was involved in sports.
Student at the all-girls Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha,” Kimberly Golding, told JIS News that the talk has inspired her to do better in her studies and to achieve her goals.
"I must say I learnt a lot. I know a lot of people, who have been in the same position as the athlete, like me. I took a page out of his book that would help to push me to go where I want to go in a few years from now," she said.
Head of the Physical Education (PE) Department at the Convent of Mercy Academy, Janet Guy, said she was happy that the school was invited to the motivational session, where the students and their coaches where able to pose questions to the NFL players.
“I think their stories should help our girls to understand that nothing in life is impossible and it is only through hard work that they can succeed,” she said.
The PE teacher expressed the hope that the motivational session will inspire the students to do their best at Champs. “We hope that they will ‘get the vibes’ and just work hard on the track,” she added.
The session was part of the Students for Transformation (SFT) and the National Transformation Programme's (NTP) ‘Peace and Respect for All at Champs and Always’ campaign, aimed at promoting peace, love and unity among schools during this year’s championship.
Motivational messages were also delivered by Miss Jamaica World 2010, Chantal Raymond and Miss Jamaica World 2005 and Managing Director of Spartan Health Club, Dr. Teri Karelle Reid, while Kenroy "DJ Slims" Henriques from Seaview Gardens, entertained the gathering.
By E. HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS PR Officer