Education

Newark student athletes taught life lessons by New York Giants players

830234106a128573ba49_Giants-1.jpg
Giants football players Oliver Vernon, Michael Thomas, and Dalvin Tomlinson spoke to Newark student athletes today. Credits: Heather Kays
9fefaea23b4aa46c7d0d_Giants-2.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
03575d94f15f2bfc3a4f_Giants-3.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
dfc59f55f46acf585b47_Giants-4.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
5646506654fa9a5dbdb1_Giants-5.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
1d062b049e4498be1a47_Giants-6.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
271bbda715195d6af14e_Giants-7.jpg
Giants players pose with Newark high school students following an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
380b29e8a2c4d7b26a7a_Giants-8.jpg
Giants player Dalvin Tomlinson spoke to Newark student athletes today about the importance of education. Credits: Heather Kays
c5220cbfc3e352a34838_Giants-9.jpg
Giants football players Michael Thomas, Oliver Vernon and Dalvin Tomlinson spoke to Newark student athletes today about the importance of education. Credits: Heather Kays
024aa4f540f30bd49d30_Giants-10.jpg
Mayor Ras J. Baraka encouraged student athletes to pursue their dreams during an education forum held Wednesday. Credits: Heather Kays
830234106a128573ba49_Giants-1.jpg

Newark, NJ—Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Newark Bronze Shields members, and members of the NFL New York Giants football team took part Wednesday in an educational forum for Newark student athletes.

“We are deeply, deeply indebted to them,” Baraka said of the Giants players who attended the forum. “They could be anywhere else doing a bunch of things.”  

Baraka spoke to the students first and delivered a hopeful message.

Sign Up for E-News

“I think our athletes need to hear honest information,” said Baraka. “They need to hear from folks that went through the things you’re going through now. Sometimes successfully. I know someday everybody here thinks they’re going to a D-1 pro ball player with whatever they are doing and unfortunately that may not happen for you, but it does not mean you should not be striving for that.

“I mean, whatever it is you think you should do you should stay on that path despite all the negativity that people tell you,” Baraka continued. “Because they are supposed to tell you that. They get paid to tell you that. Your counselors will tell you that you’re not going to make it and to have a plan B. I’m telling you to focus on your dreams. To do what’s necessary. If you want to be a pro ball player do what you can to make that happen. The reason why I am saying that is all the skills that you will learn along the way will benefit you in everything else that is that you need to do even if you don’t land there.”

Baraka emphasized that the importance on courage and collaboration.

“You can make your own championship based on whatever field that you decide, or god puts you in to do based on the skills you’ve learned on the journey to fulfill the dreams that you have in your head today,” said Baraka.

Giants football players Michael Thomas, Oliver Vernon and Dalvin Tomlinson spoke to the students and answered their questions at the Rutgers Golden Dome Athletic Center.

Thomas told the students his story of not being drafted and being on the practice squad for the first year and a half but working hard. He ended up catching a game winning interception while playing against Tom Brady during his second year and made a name for himself my capitalizing on that opportunity.

“I took something that was a negative. Going undrafted, having to be on the practice squad into an opportunity, working hard toward turning into what is going on to my seventh year in the NFL,” said Thomas. “Set the goal. Whatever your goal is in life work towards, go and make It happen without letting anyone tell you no. So many people told me why I couldn’t do it. Why I wouldn’t make it. How I needed to move on. I knew in my heart if I worked hard I could do it.”

The Giants players took turns answering many questions from students who asked about everything from the transition from high school to college and who their mentors were when they were growing up. The players also posed for pictures with students from each of the Newark high schools in attendance.

Levi Holmes and Yolander Graham of Newark Bronze Shields and Rutgers men’s basketball coach Joe Loughran and Rutgers volleyball coach Pedro Trevino spoke to the students and encouraged them to succeed both in their studies as well as their athletic goals.

“I’m glad I was able to come out here and speak to y’all,” said Oliver. “I see a lot of young cats out here, man. You’re the reason we all came out here. I know that at your age… I was young like y’all too. You can be hard headed. You feel like you know everything. I understand. You won’t realize it at this age, but the window of opportunity is very, very small. It’s basically just hard work and dedication that’s gotten me to this point.”

Tomlinson encouraged the student athletes to find something outside of sports to focus on and to be certain to maintain good grades.

“Make sure you all focus on those books because in the long run you want to go to college and do something after football or after any other sport you may do and be successful at it,” said Tomlinson, adding he has two degrees. “One day you’re going to have to hang the cleats up. My biggest thing is keep your head in the books.”    

Thomas talked about the importance of students learning time-management skills because of the demanding nature of being a student athlete in college and beyond. He said developing time-management skills becomes a necessity because there will be days when you don’t want to work out or go to class but you must grind and do it anyway. Student athletes in college are required to maintain a certain grade point average to compete, he said.

Thomas told TAPInto Newark that he was happy to be a part of the event.

“I try to give back as much as I can,” Thomas told TAPinto Newark, adding that in volunteering in other cities there are a lot of the same problems in a macro sense for urban youth. “This was a new city for me. It was a cool event. The kids had some good questions they’d written up. I hope they took something away from it.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Newark

McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

June 16, 2018

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

Newark men honored for serving as role models by the Marion P. Thomas Charter School Foundation

June 11, 2018

Newark, NJ—Three local men and one corporation received awards from the Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS) Foundation at its annual “Fathers for our Children” Awards Ceremony and Scholarship Fundraiser.

This year’s award recipients are Modia "Mo" Butler, political strategist; the late Dr. Fabian Rice of RWJ/ Barnabas Health’s ...

Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan dies

June 20, 2018

Kevin Ryan, a former Assemblyman from Nutley who served as an Essex County Undersheriff, has died.

Ryan, 49, served for nearly two decades in the Essex County Sheriff's Office, rising to the rank of undersheriff. He also served a year beginning in January 2011 as State Assemblyman before redistricting changes.  

Ryan was a close confidante of Essex County Sheriff ...

50 years after RFK assassination, the NBHS band’s moment is remembered

June 7, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a warm June day in 1968, 40 members of the New Brunswick High School band stood on the city train platform playing solemn hymns.

It was supposed to be a one-hour performance as they waited the train traveling from New York to Washington, carrying the body of a slain presidential candidate, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

But one-hour dragged into two, and then three, as ...

Got junk? Rutgers students do

June 1, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - On a thin tripod of supports, the black charcoal grill sat on top of love seat that was half on the street, half on the curb, outside a Delafield Street apartment.

As the college year ends, and this generation of Rutgers students empty out of apartments, their well-used but now discarded remains line city curbs, and sometimes spill into ...

50 years after RFK assassination, the NBHS band’s moment is remembered

June 7, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a warm June day in 1968, 40 members of the New Brunswick High School band stood on the city train platform playing solemn hymns.

It was supposed to be a one-hour performance as they waited the train traveling from New York to Washington, carrying the body of a slain presidential candidate, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

But one-hour dragged into two, and then three, as ...

Hearing Loss Common in School-Aged Children

May 30, 2018

With close to 15% of U.S. children ages 6–19 experiencing hearing loss, New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NJSHA) notes that May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

“Some children are born ...

Ensure Safe Sleep While Traveling with Baby

June 6, 2018

As we approach the summer, there will be plenty of expected travel for families, from visiting grandma at the beach to heading out on a long, well-deserved vacation. 

When staying overnight at a friend’s or family’s place, it is important to maintain the same sleep practices as you do at home. Your baby should be sleeping in a safe, modern crib that meets the latest ...