As I sit at my laptop and think about the countless athletes who have bypassed college and went to professional sports as a quick way to fame and fortune and the ones who accept athletic scholarships to schools they would have probably never attended if not for their athletic ability, only to take the opportunity for one year and then chase the pros whether they are ready or not. It forces me to ponder what has happened to the strive for excellence in an area that can never be taken away from you? That is education. You see, I myself was an athlete in high school and was always in awe of the peer who could run the fastest, jump the highest, lift the heaviest weights or had the most skills. For some reason though, I was never impressed by the person on their way to valedictorian of the school or by anyone for that matter receiving academic accolades. Though, I was taught to utilize basketball as a tool to free education the fact of the matter is that I never really cared to view it that way because there was always that possibility of that super lucrative carrot dangling in the horizon “if I just worked hard enough”. You see the fact of the matter is that less than 2% of high school athletes go on to become professional athletes in the future and I don’t know how you feel, but that’s not a very encouraging percentage for something that can be taken away so easily by circumstances beyond your control such as injury and age. However, the reality that an education can never be taken away from you and can also prove lucrative to a bright and BRILLIANT future does still loom within the minds of our youth.
This weeks posting will highlight the accomplishment of a young man who did just that and his name is Dashawn Shelton of Brooklyn, Ny. At 17 years old, the product of a single parent household, and the older of two children Dashawn watched his mom struggle through some difficult times while raising him and his brother. Working two jobs and going to school to make a way to provide a better life for her children he was sure that he would like to be able to help in any way possible as he got older. Dashawn as a pre-teen displayed a rare gift for his age. His writing skills were exceptional and all his teachers recognized this and encouraged his mom to research a high school named The Academy for Young Writers which he would later attend for the next 4 years that would foster and groom his talent further. His mom would even go as far as to have him critique and proofread her college level work for her which he was able to do with the training he was receiving at this school. Though Dashawn claims that “contrary to what people believe I don’t enjoy writing when it comes to anything other than poetry” he was able to write his way to and through a competition of 25 young gifted writers that grand prized him a full academic scholarship to Southern Vermont College a personal accomplishment and victory that his mother couldn’t be more proud of and he couldn’t feel more proud to give her. A Brooklyn youth with an affinity for fashion, desire to always be viewed as a standout from those his own age was able to see the value in education of not only to himself but also the desire to lessen the financial burden and pressure that comes with having a child in higher education. With the support of his mom and his brother Dashawn has accomplished a truly awesome accomplishment. Mr Shelton may have said it best when it comes to how focused he is on being an individual and I quote “I always consider myself unique and a distinction from many people and mainly the teenage race of this time because I often think about and do things that most teenagers don’t ever do or think about. This scholarship is a prime example. I don’t know many other people who obtained an academic full scholarship like I have. I don’t smoke nor do I drink nor have I gotten any female pregnant and all of those things are trendy in this generation.” If this young man isn’t worthy of being considered OBVIOUSLY YOUNG AND BRILLIANT I don’t know who is!!! This is what we love and know is important to the future of mankind Mr Shelton we salute you! And you are officially deemed “Oy-Yabe”.