For Tucker’s football players, the last day of their first semester of school shared a common element with the rest of DeKalb County’s high school students: final exams. As most students were preparing to relax, however, the players were just getting started on their eventful Friday.
On a day when the Tigers picked up their championship t-shirts commemorating the school’s first undefeated football season, the players took some time to give to their community and finished the night receiving another piece of hardware to accompany the title trophy.
Before the school day was over, the players piled into a caravan and headed to loaded down with toys. Waiting at Midvale were counselor Adrienne Griffin and parent Sasha Hayes. Four of Hayes’ six children are Midvale students. When Tucker boosters reached out to Griffin looking to help out, she said she had no hesitation in recommending Hayes as the recipient, citing Hayes’ work ethic and involvement with the school.
Said Hayes, “I’m feeling really blessed right now.”
Coincidentally, it was also Hayes’ birthday, and each of her children wished her a happy birthday as they arrived one-by-one in the Midvale media center.
The football players, accompanied by several of their parents, arrived together and caroled their way into the media center carrying six bags of toys. An emotional few minutes ensued, and even these champion football players had to stop to dry their eyes.
Among others, junior RB Brendon Hooker addressed Hayes. Hooker knows Hayes’ children as part of the Tigers’ mentoring program. He and many other players have been dispatched once a week to Tucker’s feeder schools this fall to mentor elementary school students.
“Thank you for letting us have time with your kids,” said Hooker to Hayes, and then the players split into groups to give their gifts to the children.
The kids were eager to meet all the players and were awestruck upon receiving gifts from senior RB Jordan Landry and junior QB Juwaan Williams.
As the event concluded, everyone gathered for a group photo, and Landry led the team in song.
From Midvale, the players traveled to and DeKalb Medical Center to spread some more holiday cheer.
Later that night, the group reconvened at on LaVista Road to honor Williams’ invitation to the Rising Senior Bowl.
At 9:15 p.m. Williams was presented with a plaque, which now hangs in the Waffle House entryway.
Williams’ family was on hand, including mother Danielle Brown.
“I’m a proud mama,” said Brown. “Every time he leaves the house he makes me proud.” Brown said she can take pride in her son’s decisions on the field, at school, and in life. About football, she added, “When he first brought me home the papers at six years old, I was nervous for him to play football, but from that day he knew he wanted to be a quarterback.”
“Being given this prestigious award, it just sets off the whole 2011 year for me and just makes me want to work harder for 2012,” said Williams. He said he hoped people would remember the first team in Tucker history to go undefeated when they see the plaque, but added, “our legacy isn’t over.”