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ACC Convocation Speaker Credits Educators for Success

Educators are very similar to football linemen because they shoulder the burden of building young people’s lives but they rarely receive the credit for their work according to former NFL player Shawn Harper.

Educators work behind the scenes to make things possible for him when he was a student and now his son who is in college.

“This allowed me to change the trajectory of my line,” Harper said.

Harper was the guest speaker for the Alvin Community College 2022 Fall Convocation.

As a child, Harper said he struggled in school as he worked through stuttering.

“If you don’t know who you are, you’re who they say you are,” he said. “Your name is so important. Up until that moment. My name was failure.”

At one point, school officials suggested that he had learning disabilities. But his mother stood up for him and demanded that he not be labeled. Harper would go on to be kicked out of two schools and graduated from high school as the last in class.

But then he got a phone call from a community college in Mason City, Iowa where he received an offer to play football.

“The dream began to speak deep within me, this dream of one day doing something great,” Harper said. “There is nothing more powerful than the dream.”

Harper decided to become a winner and find his success in life regardless of what the world thought about him as a player and as a student. He would go on to transfer to Indiana University and then was drafted into the NFL and everywhere along the way, education made a difference in how he saw himself.

When he reflects on his life and those who helped him become a success, Harper said the vast majority of those who supported him were educators.

“Had it not been for a few people who saw the king in the kid, who looked past the problems and saw the potential, I would not be here today,” he said.

Educators must always be aware that even when they feel like they’re not getting through to a student, the students always hear them and that can have a huge impact on their life, he said. A student will always remember the words that empower them, he said.

“You’re the frontline warriors that make that happen,” Harper said. “Educators, you fight the battle in plain sight.”