Our 8th students had a special surprise waiting for them a few weeks ago. Students gathered in our beautiful OLHMS library to meet and interact with two successful and hard working OLHMS alumni- Phazione McClurge and Rashad Johnson.
Phazione played Division 1 football at Cornell University, then continued his football career and higher education degree at Indiana State University. Rashad played college basketball at Aurora University, and he currently coaches at his alma mater of Oak Lawn Community High School and at the Bulls Academy. Phazione anxiously awaits and hopes to be drafted in the 2022 NFL draft, while Rashad continues to work towards his goal of playing professional basketball. When Phazione and Rashad spoke to our students, they provided words of wisdom that stuck with everyone.
One of many inspirational messages that Phazione emphasized was relationships with others. As time sped by, Phazione had opportunities to reflect and realized that he was bigger than football. Phazione stated that, “I tried to meet as many people as I possibly could, and I tried to learn from as many people as I could. I wish I joined more clubs and activities so I just have met more people and build relationships and connect with others.” Phazione and Rashad got our OLHMS scholars involved in the conversation and asked students what they were involved in and why they started their sport or club. Peyton, 8th grade volleyball player, stood up and shared her story. Peyton stated that, “I started [volleyball] in fourth grade after I stopped gymnastics, my mom decided to put me in volleyball. At first, I didn’t like it at all. But now, I love it. I play all day, every day!” Students also asked excellent questions to help prepare them for their future.
One student, Nick, asked our Phazione and Rashad “what is something important to know before going to high school?” Phazione stated how it is vital to “know who you hang around, and to hang around with good people. What you do now and every decision you make will impact you for the rest of your life.” To add onto this, Rashad stated that, “it’s essential to have a good character not only for high school, but for life. Be a genuine person, work hard, and be grateful… Always remember that you have two choices in life: you can keep going, or you can give up. The choice is yours.”
Phazione and Rashad ended their presentation with positive words of encouragement for all our 8th grade students. As a whole, students stated and restated, “I can! I will! I’m the best!” We are so thankful to have had two amazing and inspirational OLHMS alumni come back to their old stomping grounds and speak to our scholars.