Rotary Lombardi Award Nominees Urge Students to Stay in School

Sixth-graders hear about college athletes’ drive to succeed, both in athletics and academics

December 05, 2012

Rotary Lombardi Award - Images by Web Team

Rotary Lombardi Award - Images by Web Team by Web Team

Sixth-graders at Cullen Middle School had the chance to meet two college football players at the top of their games — and hear why it’s important to stay in school and get an education.

As part of a community outreach event and in partnership with the Texans YMCA program, Rotary Lombardi Award nominees Jarvis Jones, an outside linebacker with the University of Georgia, and Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end with the University of South Carolina, addressed 175 students in the school’s cafeteria. Miss Texas USA Ali Nugent was also on hand to share her experiences with the kids.

The trio’s message on being successful was clear: Stay in school, stay out of trouble, and listen to your parents and teachers.

“I see so many great young kids in here — you can be whatever you want to be,” Jones said. Clowney told the students to stay focused and keep trying even when it’s hard. “Don’t quit anything you do,” Clowney said. “Just finish it.”

The Rotary Lombardi Award is given annually to the college football lineman who has demonstrated performance, ability, character, and teamwork. It is hosted by the Rotary Club of Houston and benefits the American Cancer society. Manti Te’o of Notre Dame and Barrett Jones of the University of Alabama are also nominees for the award, which is the only award carrying Vince Lombardi’s name except the Super Bowl trophy. Vince Lombardi died of cancer in 1970.

Cullen Middle School Principal Clayton Crook said the program was a positive experience for the students, and it was an honor to host.

“Just having our school have this opportunity to have two athletes that are being recognized for a prestigious award among the college ranks … we were excited to host it and proud that Cullen Middle School was chosen as the location for them to come and speak with our children about the importance of this award and to share their successes,” Crook said.

Marcus Rolls of the Houston Rotary Club emceed the event. Rolls said he was proud to participate in the event — especially one so close to home.

“I grew up across the street from here, this is my neighborhood,” Rolls said. “I know that some of these kids have not been afforded the same opportunities I have, so I always want to come back and give back to the community.”

For more information about the Rotary Lombari Award, click here.