The Jackson State University Division of Athletics hosted its fifth annual “Breakfast of Champions” to honor its scholar student-athletes, who earned at least a 3.0 grade point average through the summer of 2016, with keynote speaker and MADDRAMA founder Dr. Mark G. Henderson proclaiming to athletes that “it takes nothing to be ordinary or mediocre, but it takes the best within you to extraordinary.”
The event was held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Student Center.
Henderson, chair of JSU’s Department of Speech Communications and Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts, told athletes “the whole world is watching and waiting and seeking and praying and hoping and yearning” that each of the scholars would continue representing what true athletes are made of. Furthermore, he commended them for staying the course when confronted with the tough choice of choosing between extracurricular activities over academics and athletics.
“You reminded all naysayers that you are a scholar by saying, “We train hard; we stayed up late; but most of all we graduate,” he intoned.
Also, Henderson told the honorees that “you have to work hard to be a scholar-athlete because the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary, so you’ve got to keep your mind sharp.”
Wheeler Brown, JSU’s director of athletics, said, “Our student athletes continue to set the bar higher and higher each year for academic achievement. We are so pleased with their outstanding efforts. Our academic scores have increased each year over the past five years. However, we will not be satisfied until every student athlete has a GPA of at least 3.0.”
Offering more praise, Henderson commended the scholar-athletes for their commitment to JSU.
“You could have taken your talents somewhere else, but you laid your feet on solid soil and found refuge in this land of tenacious Tigers.”
A total of 177 Tigers and Lady Tigers were recognized during the ceremony, according to Genese Lavalais, associate director of athletics for academics.
All JSU 18 sports were represented.
The team breakdown: baseball, 20; men’s basketball, 5, women’s basketball, 12; bowling, 6; football, 39; men’s golf, 4; women’s golf, 3; women’s soccer, 22; softball, 11; men’s tennis, 10; women’s tennis, 7; men’s track, 15; women’s track, 14; volleyball, 8.
Of the 177 student-athletes, 6 recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA, 65 finished between the 3.5-3.9 range and 106 recorded between a 3.0-3.49.
Each student-athlete received a commemorative Wheaties Breakfast of Champions cereal box with the 2016-17 group picture of the 3.0 student-athletes added to the box.