Dear Friends at Sports World,
I simply cannot thank you enough for the superlative opportunities you have afforded us here at The Phoenix School of Discovery, a JCPS Alternative School for low-income, atypical, somewhat fragile youth. From the instant Nicole Grady offered this incredible opportunity, to the moments of delivery by such dedicated athletes, like Steve Grant and Devon McDonald, we were TRANSFORMED!
The first time Nicole contacted us, she assured us we would really enjoy Steve. “Enjoy” was not the word!!! He “captured” us all…students, teachers, administrators, security guards… We were “wowed” by his encouraging, positive exhortations and the kids left dazed and amazed at what they had felt and heard. His second visit was even more impactful than the first, engaging the kids in an interactive discussion about dating, personal expectations, life purpose, and goals. It was tremendous.
Then, another call from Nicole (thank you, Nicole!) came. Sports World had another representative she would like us to invite, and I did not have to think twice!! Needless to say, Devon McDonald presented to our entire student body and they were spellbound (quite a feat for our population!) during the entire delivery.
They connected with Devon’s personal stories of failure, lost dreams, periods of hopelessness, and the often depressing realities of life, but immediately were influenced and empowered and lifted by his stories of setting goals and meeting them, choosing the standard of excellence for himself, developing respectful relationships around him and most of all, realizing that every choice he made would have a consequence or a benefit. It was brilliant!!
Devon had no idea, but at that very time, one of our male students was considering suicide, had actually attempted it once before, and had just spoken to me in the moments prior to his presentation. I stood beside that boy on the gym floor watching him as he listened to Devon. I honestly had no idea how what Devon was saying was affecting him.
After Devon finished his message, the boy asked me if he could go up and meet him, because he had made him see that “even famous people” go through the same things as he has suffered. He had no idea. Devon had just saved this boy’s life. I told Devon after I introduced the boy to him and he went on with his classmates and Devon was visibly moved, almost to tears. He stood in amazement and we basically rejoiced together. That, my friends, was no less than a miracle…and that young man is doing great today!!!!
I don’t know how many other students in other schools have been transformed like those in our school, but Sports World has played a major role in giving our kids hope, connections to real and successful people, and has empowered them (by real men living real lives sharing real failures and real successes) to tackle their obstacles and use their failures as foundation stones to their futures.
We have been transformed by our exposure to Sports World and the dedicated advocates that serve there. We are privileged and honored to have hosted such astute, gracious, and influential guests at the Phoenix and hope our relationship will continue for many more years. We cannot do our students justice, without your input and opportunity. “It takes a village…” and I am so glad we are a part of yours.
And by the way, our motto at Phoenix is
RISE, TRANSFORM, and SOAR.
Sports World surely must have thought of it first!!!!!
With my utmost gratitude and respect,
High School Counselor
The Phoenix School of Discovery