Shackelford inspired me too

By BRENT MAZE,

There are times I really enjoy what I do, and Friday was one of those opportunities for me.

This was the day that Newton High School announced the students who will be participating in the Vaughn and Sandy Grisham NHS Fellows Program. Twenty-six Newton students will be leaving town next week for Oxford to take a unique tour of the University of Mississippi campus.

Last year, I had the opportunity to meet Newton alumnus Bruce Ware. He’s one of the heroes and friends of Newton High School. He has helped put this program together his Professor Vaughn Graham and his wife, Sandy, to offer this opportunity to local students.

Looking back to my own experience, this isn’t the same kind of tour that you get when you go on a visit to the school. This is a chance for students to get to interact with professors, advisors and others with the university. It is also beneficial for students because they really get an opportunity to see what they need to do to prepare for college.

I wish I had received this kind of opportunity, and I hope that these students take advantage of it and go prepared with a list of questions that they have about college life and how to prepare.

A special treat for me and those at the ceremony last week was hearing former Ole Miss linebacker/defensive end D.T. Shackelford, who was the invited guest of Ware to help celebrate the NHS Grisham Fellows Program Friday at the NHS auditorium.

Shackelford is a native of Decatur, Ala. and a graduate of Austin High School. Just to give you some perspective with me, I used to work in Hartselle, Ala., and Austin and Hartselle are rivals, especially on the gridiron.

I know a little bit of the background of that Decatur and how it is vastly different from our Decatur. There are a lot of kids that face difficult home lives. D.T. came out of high school rated as a three-star inside linebacker and signed with Ole Miss after having offers to Auburn, LSU, Stanford and others.

He holds the distinction of being the first-ever two-time recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award and earned the right to wear Mullins’ 38.

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

“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.”

That’s some good stuffthat everyone can use.

If we put all three of those in motion, we all will see a lot of success in our lives and for the businesses we work for.

Contact Brent at bmaze@-newtoncountyappeal.com.

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