More Than Athletes

PRINCETON, WV, August 26, 2016:    Amidst the fanfare of tonight’s Bluefield vs. Graham football game, through principal collaboration athletes from Bluefield High School (BHS) took time to visit Bluefield Intermediate School (BIS) students this morning to talk to them about character, about dedication, about the future, and about staying in school.  While it is often easy for the grade 3 – 5 students to see “what” the athletes “do” on the field, it is not always easy for them to see their “off the field” activities.  As Jeff Johnson, principal of BIS explained to Mookie Collier, Cody Fuller and Carlos Reid before they addressed his BIS students, “my students watch you on the sidelines, they watch you on the field, and they watch you in the community.”  As a result, they begin to idolize you, to want to act and be “just like you.”  Furthermore, Johnson said, “I can’t’ stress to you how important it is for these students to see you as students as well.” 
Carlos Reed, a running back for BHS, told the BIS students, “Don’t just strive for a 2.0 grade point average.  Even though a 2.0 is good, a 3.0 is even better.  You should strive for better.”  He also said that being able to talk to the students was “a dream come true.”  Reed is working on being a completer at the Mercer County Technical Education Center (MCTEC) in the automotive field.  He also has aspirations of going to college, hopefully on scholarship.  Currently, he is considering East Tennessee State and Liberty.   
Cody Fuller, a quarterback for BHS, said that while he appreciates the students idolizing him and other athletes that, “one day football is going to end.  This journey is more about what the person is going to be in and out of the classroom than what he is on the field.”  Fuller is considering going to West Virginia University (WVU), and he hopes to pursue either a career in dentistry or optometry.   
Mookie Collier, a running back for BHS, feels it is an amazing blessing to be able to participate in athletics.  He explained to the students at BIS that “they should consider all 
their options in the future.”  He also told them “not to get stuck on just one sport…to try different sports… and to stay motivated to do their best.”  Collier, a junior at BHS, has not yet decided on a college.  As he explained to the younger students, he wants to take the next two years to consider his options.   
Michal Collins, principal at BHS, was happy and excited to accompany his BHS athletes to BIS.  He said, “It is an honor when I can showcase what my student athletes can do in the classroom as well as on the field.”