Monday, June 13, 2011

Michael Vick Gives Commence Address and Scholarships

After asking a question ninth grader Timajah Johnson, right, hands Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick a microphone at Martin Luther King High School, Thursday, May 26, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In the minutes before giving his first commencement speech, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick professed to be more nervous than before a football game.

He had nothing to worry about. A lovingly raucous crowd of several hundred cheered Vick throughout his remarks Friday to graduates of the alternative Camelot high schools at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

The fact that he surprised a pair of students with $5,000 college scholarships didn't hurt either. The theme of redemption proved to be the heart of the connection between the ex-con NFL superstar and the 450 graduates. Camelot's six campuses in Philadelphia serve about 1,800 students with emotional, disciplinary or academic problems.

In speeches during Friday's ceremony and in a private meeting with Vick before the big event, several graduates spoke of rebounding from previous troubles or poor choices to earn a diploma with the second chance they were given at Camelot.

"I had all the fame and fortune; I thought I was unstoppable," Vick told the students. But after his conviction, he said, "I lost my freedom, I lost my money, I lost my family."

He challenged the students to make thoughtful decisions, pursue their goals and make the most of their second chances.

"I stand before you today a changed man," Vick said. "Use me as an example at how to become an instrument of change ... you can do it as well."

Vick then announced that grads Monique Joseph and Rickey Savage would each be receiving a scholarship. Joseph plans to attend Penn State in the fall while Savage will go to Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va.

Neither the students nor their families -- not even school staff -- knew they would be receiving the funds, said Camelot CEO Todd Bock.
Source: Associated Press

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment