NHS Grisham Fellows honored at program

By BRENT MAZE,

Former Ole Miss linebacker/defensive end D.T. Shackelford was the invited guest of Newton High School alumnus Bruce Ware to help celebrate the NHS Grisham Fellows Program Friday at the NHS auditorium.

This is the second year the program was held at Newton High School. This also served as the announcement of the 26 students who will be getting a first-hand tour of Ole Miss next week.

Shackelford, a native of Decatur, Ala., said came out of high school rated as a three-star inside linebacker and signed with Ole Miss. During his college years, he faced a lot of adversity from dealing with a coaching change to dealing with an injury that sidelined him for most of his third and fourth years at Ole Miss.

However, he didn’t let that get him down. He finished his undergraduate degree in three years and became the first-ever two-time recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award and earned the right to wear Mullins’ 38 during the 2014 season after the NCAA gave him the opportunity to be a sixth-year senior.

Shackelford is currently at Ole Miss earning his Ph.D.

He encouraged the students to overcome adversity and give great effort, as he was able to do it despite having a difficult home life.

“They said, ‘Hey D.T. How’d you do it?” Shackelford said. “My response to adversity was this. I was the first person in my family to have a college education. I’m it. And a lot of you and your family, you’re it. If you don’t do it, it won’t get done. I’m a trailblazer for mine. My kids will never have an opportunity to have an excuse as to why they can’t make it.

“Your response to adversity is so important. E — I like to call it E to the third power. No. 1 is effort. No. 2 is energy. No. 3 is endurance. It does not take talent to give effort. I beat the people in the classroom because I had effort.

“It’s game time, but not just on Friday night. I need Tuesday at 11 o’clock in the classroom when you’re tired. I need that type of effort. Nobody remembers average.

“Energy. There’s energy. I’m giving off positive energy.

“Endurance. I came into college needing to take two remedial courses, and now I’m a year a way from a doctorate degree. What happened? I outlasted the competition.”

Ware said he was thrilled that they could increase the number of students from 18 to 26.

“It’s such a blessing that we are able to take so many kids with us this year,” Ware said. “This isn’t about trying to promote Ole Miss, but this is an opportunity for these students to take a tour of a campus, get to know professors and find out how they need to prepare for college if that’s the route that they go.

“I’m just doing my part, and if everyone would just do their part to help students like this, we could make a difference in the lives of these young men and young women.”

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