IHS football players say education is a priority

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 18, 2003

Ironton High School Fighting Tigers football player Chris Collins was a second-grader at Whitwell Elementary once, not so very long ago, so he could identify with their wiggles and squirms last Friday as he visited their classrooms for a heart-to-heart chat.

The talk was not about football, but about education. Collins and fellow Tigers Marland Turner and A.J. Lutz visited the city's elementary schools to encourage students to stay focused, study and make school work their top priority.

"Sports is not always going to be there. Only one percent of high school football players play football in college. And only one percent of college football players go to the NFL," Collins told Mrs. McClellan's class. "I want to challenge you to make good grades, and start good study habits."

Email newsletter signup

The kids challenged him as well.

"Did you get good grades?" Malea Harris asked. The other kids giggled. Actually, that's why Collins, Turner and Lutz were chosen to speak to the younger kids. They are among the most academically- oriented of the football team. School officials hope that hearing about the importance of education from high school sports heroes will inspire the youngsters to think about their own education.

"It seems like a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting where you are. This used to be my old room. Before you know it, you'll be in middle school, and junior high, and then high school. School work comes first. It's important to try hard and do your homework," Collins said.

School officials plan to bring other high schoolers to the elementary school in the future to rally the grade school kids around the idea of education.