Whether they are right or wrong, when growing up society helps us develop preconceived stereotypes. As an example of this could be a waitress in diner. Because she works in a diner, we may come to the conclusion that she hasn’t achieved anything in life. We may assume that because a man is a physicist that means he’s a nerdy, geeky wimp or that a cheerleader could never be a woman with a high IQ. Well this is a story about a man who eliminated any stereotyping from my mind and who pushed me to higher levels of education without ever knowing it.
Growing up as a child Biloxi, MS and attending D’Iberville High School, I always considered the smart kids as nerds and although, I knew I could achieve grades higher them many of them I was always afraid of being type casted as one of them. After all the cool kids were all the schools athletes and the cool teachers were all the coaches. The coaches taught all the easy classes and everyone wanted to be in those classes because it was an easy grade. I followed suit and made sure that I got those easy coaches and easy classes to not raise suspicion that I might be one of those nerdy smart kids. Coach O’Neal changed all that for me.
On my schedule for my junior year in high school, I took a class simply by looking at who taught the class. The teacher was Coach O’Neal and the class was Geometry. I had known Coach O’Neal the coach, but never the educator. When I entered this class, I quickly learned that this man was no ordinary coach. This man was a mathematical wiz and didn’t try to hide it. He flaunted and showed every one, that I am a man of education first and a man of sports second. He proved on a daily basis that if you want to be the best athlete you can, you better be the best student that you can. He taught the class how to apply classroom lessons into real world applications, but he taught me to never hide your intelligence, but to use it to your advantage. I never got the opportunity to go back D’Iberville High and thank Coach O’Neal for the lessons he taught me, but I hope somewhere out there he gets the chance to read this article and know that he did reach one kid and changed his life for the better.