Former Nimitz High School football star Michael Thomas has not forgotten Aldine ISD. He recently held Camp Mike T at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center, the stadium where he made his mark 10 years ago.
This is the fourth summer camp that Thomas has held at M.O. Campbell. The free two-day camp works with kids between the ages of 12 and 14 on Day 1, and focuses on high school student-athletes on Day 2. The event is open to kids across the Houston area.
The young athletes learn to fine tune their football skills on the field, but Thomas’ camp is about much more than making the right moves on the field. He wants kids to make the right moves in life too.
On hand were college representatives from the University of Texas-Austin, Prairie View A&M University and Lone Star College. They discussed topics ranging from financial aid, courses to prepare for college, and working to achieve their dreams. Raphael Vallier, founder and senior partner of the financial consulting firm I.N.F. Solutions, was also present. He focused on financial literacy.
Thomas encouraged the athletes to have a fallback plan. He encouraged everyone to focus on earning a college degree.
“I’m all about Aldine,” said Thomas. “I’m passionate about giving back to where I came from. It’s important that these guys see me, one of their own, returning and giving back. We learn football skills. There are life skills we can all learn from the game of football. I hope that I am motivating them to have a plan. I want these young men to have grit and work toward achieving their dreams. And I hope the other life skills we teach and share at the camp help them grow.”
The New York Giants’ player shared how he was recruited to play football for Stanford University. While there, he took advantage and earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology. Later when he was playing for the Miami Dolphins, he went on to earn his MBA.
Few may also be aware that he was a political intern. He encourages today’s youth to be active in their communities.
Thomas told students to have grit. He shared how initially he was told that he was too small or too short for football. He worked hard because he believed in himself.
Before the financial literacy skills lessons ended on Day 2, Thomas had a surprise for one young man. Tobias White from Nimitz High School received the first Camp Mike T Academic Scholarship. Tobias was floored when he realized that the scholarship was in the amount of $10,000. Funds raised for the scholarship included money from an auction of an Eli Manning autographed jersey.
Thomas thanked his Nimitz Class of 2008 alumni. Brittani Hightower, Gwen Foster, Courtney Clay and Thaddeus Wesley formed the Scholarship Selection Committee.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. LaTonya Goffney was also present. Goffney thanked Thomas for giving back and for inspiring youth to live the dream by teaching valuable skills on and off the field. She also lauded his scholarship as an opportunity for area students.
For Thomas, this scholarship is just the beginning. He envisions his program will grow to offer more in the future for student-athletes.
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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