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Clemson Football Players Serve as Inspiration to Area Students

posted Dec 19, 2018, 11:18 AM by Lee Stephens   [ updated Dec 19, 2018, 11:19 AM ]
SMS Students at Kicks, Cleats, and Kids program at Clemson University
Recently, when the students from Seneca Middle School arrived at the Clemson University football complex for the Kicks, Cleats, and Kids program, they immediately saw that the Clemson football players’ shirts read “Serve Others.” Little did one of those football players know how he had already served as inspiration to one of these sixth graders before even meeting him. Zi Walker, a sports-loving child, was struggling to find that just-right novel to read. His ELA teacher, Laurie Skrobola, suggested he try a sports-themed book. He took her suggestion and chose Touchdown Turmoil by Jake Maddox as his next novel. While he enjoyed the book, he had difficulty summarizing a chapter about a football wide receiver who runs a slant pattern because he couldn’t visualize what a slant pattern looked like. To help him better understand, Skrobola, an avid Clemson fan, suggested that Zi watch Clemson football game clips and watch out for #13, Hunter Renfrow. Thereafter, as Zi continued reading the book, he thought of the main character as #13 and had no trouble finishing the book. Imagine his amazement and joy as he had the opportunity to meet and share his story with the real #13, Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow later even sought out Skrobola, who was also on the trip, to let her know how much this connection meant to him.

Zi Walker and Hunter Renfrow
Zi was among a group of 19 sixth grade boys chosen to participate in the program as Junior MiSTERS by science teacher Daniel Spencer, a long-time participant in the Call Me MiSTER program at Clemson. While at the Clemson football facility, they had the opportunity to eat lunch with players, play with them in the outdoor playground, tour the facility, receive free athletic shoes and hear an inspirational message from Coach Dabo Swinney. The remaining Seneca Middle School participants were Leeland Bond, John Brewer, Richard Brooks, Avery Bulter, Nick Carver, Jalon Foster, Kai Harrison, Sincere Holden, DJ Holland, Chester Jefferson, Kaden Jenkins, King Jones, Payson Jones, Rafael Little, Zy Paul, Zyan Prater, Cincere Stone, and Tariq Watt. Spencer said of the trip, “Call Me MiSTER has five pillars that we learn in the program: Brother's Keeper, Ambassadorship, Personal Growth, Professional Growth, and Servant Leadership. I work hard each day as an Ambassador of both Clemson University and Call Me MiSTER to ‘serve others.’ There is no greater token of appreciation that I can give Clemson and Call Me MiSTER than to serve in the community I love dearly.” It appears that both he and the Clemson University football program have definitely embraced the “serve others” philosophy. These young MiSTERS can have no better role models.