When Richard Sherman issues you a challenge, he expects you to step up. And if you do, you’ll earn his respect, whether you’re Tom Brady or a high school senior.
Hershai James, a student at Varina High School in Richmond, Virginia, met Sherman last year when the outspoken Seattle Seahawks cornerback came to town for a charity dinner. That night, Sherman challenged James: make the honor roll, and you’ll get a college scholarship.
James capitalized on the opportunity. She achieved a 3.0 average, reaching the school’s honor roll. And sure enough, Sherman came through and will fund James’ education at Norfolk State University. He informed her at this year’s charity dinner, and James couldn’t believe her ears.
“At the dinner when Richard Sherman came to me about the scholarship, I was in shock,” she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I believe I said ‘Really?’ for reassurance,” James said. “I just felt so blessed to have been given the wonderful opportunity.”
“It goes back to, ‘knowledge is power,’ and if you have knowledge, you’re going to be as powerful as you ever want to be,” Sherman said. “Nobody stops anybody from reading and educating themselves.”
Sherman is offering support through former teammate Michael Robinson’s Excel to Excellence Foundation. Robinson, another graduate of Varina High School, began the foundation in 2010 to help reach out to children he felt could be left behind.
“When my senior year began, I definitely had the scholarship in my head as motivation,” James said. “With being a senior, the year is really stressful. Having something to look forward to helped. It’s like saying my hard work and dedication paid off.”
Impressive work all the way around, both by James and by Sherman.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.