At 6-foot, 4 inches and well over 300 pounds, my former cherub ranked as one of the top offensive linemen in the state. We knew him as The Intimidator on the field, and the Teddy Bear in the classroom.
Unlike some of his high school football brethren, he was interested in learning. He made good grades and joined the Yearbook staff. He worked as hard on his studies as he did on the girdiron.
When top universities recruited him, we knew he'd go far. But he wasn't really interested in the NFL. He wanted to return home and teach.
His field of dreams is now in a special ed classroom in Northern Virginia. He stopped by Room 215 the other day to get some tips. On decorating.
He works with students who have challenging needs. Some have Down Syndrome, others are autistic. He says a bright classroom environment invigorates his charges.
A classroom full of plants, he says, will help his students keep their focus.
I'm busy cutting and rooting and potting right now. He planted a seed, and I'm helping it grow.