It’s not everyday that a young man’s dreams of becoming a professional football star comes to fruition, well, it has for Bloom High School Senior, Michael Garner. On Monday afternoon, January 23rd, Michael Garner made his acceptance announcement for a full scholarship to Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana. Mothers, fathers, grandfather, sister, brother, auntie, and school staff all came out in support of Michael -- It truly exemplified the labor of love that was the thrust behind Michael propelling him into this truly proud moment which he exclaimed, “I’m ecstatic, it’s an amazing feeling, I don’t think I’ve been this happy before”. Michael said that he always wanted to get in an HBCU, “It’s second to none”. Seventeen year old 6’7” Michael Garner, is the oldest of the five siblings and being an excellent example for those under him: Troy, Langston, Liam, and little ten month old Rhayven whom he held close to him in most of the pictures. Michael’s mom and dad came to terms early on agreeing that Michael’s dad, Troy Garner, would raise him. They both knew how important it was for a young boy to be raised by his father. As someone who has worked diligently with black boys over the years in community and Rites of Passage Programs, I commended these parents for coming to this decision. Author Jawanza Kunjufu states in his book “Countering The Conspiracy To Destroy Black Boys” when speaking before a large group of black boys:
I look out at the audience and I see where these 16-year-old brothers will be 20 years from now. Statistics show that many will be dead via homicide, suicide or some type of accident. Others will be either using or dealing drugs. One-fourth will be in prison. Others will be marginally employed. I ask the Lord to allow them to see Him when they see me and allow me to give the best speech of my life.
We are elated that Michael Garner was not one of those statistics, and one of the reasons being is because he has been blessed with a strong village. Yes, a very strong village is what it takes to get our young men off to colleges and universities where they will bloom and walk into their divine, God inspired destiny. We need more men like Troy Garner (dad), Leslie Oneal (stepdad), Bishop Troy Garner (granddad), Dante Maddox (coach), and all the others who were behind Michael guiding him, and in his ear along the way. Renee Oneal (mom) says, “Michael set the bar of expectation and made being a mother easy.” I am sure that Kymar Garner (stepmom) and Deborah Garner (auntie) echoes that comment as well. Michael Garner is a young man with a bright future ahead of him and someone who certainly will be doing greater things. Congratulations Michael!
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