It’s not everyday that NFL stars walk through a high-school gymnasium posing for pictures, shaking hands and lending advice to students. So, Tuesday wasn’t a normal day at Germantown High School.
In advance of GHS’s Thanksgiving football-rivalry showdown with MLK High, Coach Michael Hawkins, the Bears football team and students who either held tickets for the game or made the Honor Roll played host to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It’s always a great feeling anytime you can come back and talk to kids and reach out. You never know, it might change their life, just meeting somebody,” Rodgers-Cromartie said moments before entering a raucous GHS gymnasium.
His playing position was fitting, in that one of Germantown’s star players — Will Parks — also plays cornerback. The pro said that he was impressed by the kid’s play.
“I saw a [highlights] DVD and he looks really good. Just needs to keep it up, keep working hard,” Rodgers-Cromartie said of Parks, who will play at the University of Pittsburgh next year. “Hopefully, I’ll see him [in the pros] in five or six years.”
The pep-rally visit was arranged by William Deas, a 1994 GHS grad who played football for Hawkins as well.
“We need to give back to our school, to the students, especially the young men, any way we can,” said Deas, who works in security and is friends with Cromartie. “I love this school.”
Those in the gym loved what Deas made happen, too.
With the sounds of a drumline echoing off the ceiling and walls, Rodgers-Cromartie walked a full loop around the room before watching the football team introduced to loud applause. Shaking each player’s hand, he stopped for a brief chat with Parks, who later said he was honored that the pro took the time to notice what he’s accomplished so far in his young career.
It also brought a wide smile to the face of Will’s mother Nyerere Parks.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better child,” she said. “He deserves everything that comes his way. I may have spoiled him, but he works hard on the field and in school.”