It was last year's Celebrity Waiter Dinner and Football Camp, benefiting the Excel to Excellence Foundation, in Richmond, Virginia. It's an event that former Seattle Seahawks' player Michael Robinson holds each year and the team's current star cornerback, Richard Sherman, makes it a point to attend.
It was there that Sherman met Varina High School (Henrico, Va.) student, Hershai James, promising that he'd gift her with a college scholarship if she can raise her grades as a senior.
James, then a junior, now a senior, responded by improving her GPA to 3.0, circling back to see if the star cornerback would make good on his promise — and Sherman is doing just that.
He's gifting her with a personally funded college scholarship to attend Norfolk State University, where she will study business.
“At the dinner when Richard Sherman came to me about the scholarship, I was in shock. I believe I said, ‘Really?’ for reassurance,” James told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I just felt so blessed to have been given the wonderful opportunity.”
She used Sherman's generous scholarship offer as motivation.
“When my senior year began, I definitely had the scholarship in my head as motivation,” James continued. “With being a senior, the year is really stressful. Having something to look forward to helped. It’s like saying my hard work and dedication had paid off.”
She can say that again. And Sherman, a Stanford University grad, is incredibly honored to give the gift of education to the smart young lady.
“It goes back to knowledge is power and if you have knowledge you’re going to be as powerful as you ever want to be,” Sherman told the newspaper. “Nobody stops anybody from reading and educating themselves. Mike is only trying to empower these kids to be everything that they can be and if we can help with that with our presence, with our (signed) jerseys (for auction), with our words, we’ll do everything we can.”
About James, Sherman added, "[She] took the bull by the horns with this situation and impressed us all.”
She definitely did. Salute to Richard Sherman for being a man of his word and Hershai James for applying herself and raising those grades.
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(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)