Two Tigers sign scholarships

Ashley Hunter, ECB Publishing, Inc.

On Tuesday, April 3, the gym at Jefferson Somerset was full of students, teachers, coaches and family members as Jayshawn Francis and Alondre Smith, two student athletes at the school, prepared to sign with colleges.
Francis, son of Stanley and Takeshia Francis, was signing with Edward Waters College (in Jacksonville), where he will continue his football career under the EWC Tigers.
Smith, son of Coach Leroy Smith and Anderia Belvis, signed with Webber International University (in Babson Park, FL) where he is slated to continue playing football with the Webber Warriors.
During the April 3 signing, Smith and Francis were surrounded by their family members, coaches, school leadership, teammates and friends while they signed on with their respective schools.
“These are great young men. They are excellent students; well behaved and well mannered,” said Athlete Director 1st Sergeant Terry Walker. “Everything they do, they do with excellence.”
The opportunity for the two young men signing on with Webber and Edward Waters is more than an opportunity for them to continue playing football and a chance to excel academically; it is a opportunity for Smith and Francis to grab hold of their dreams and move ahead in life simply by their own initiative.
While both athletes thanked their support team of teachers, family, coaches and teammates, the truth was, without their own initiative, their own achievements and dedication to excellence, none of this would have been possible.
The parents, teachers and coaches withheld no praise as they spoke highly of the two athletes.
“They worked their butts off in the classroom,” said Leroy Smith, Coach of the Jefferson Somerset football team and father of Alondre Smith. “Both of them try their hardest on the field. They are the model student athlete.”
Stanley Francis, father of Jayshawn Francis, spoke highly of
his son, of his personal responsibility and how, even during with a busy schedule of sports, always viewed his education as a matter of great importance.
“I stand here today, watching my son develop into a young man,” said Francis. “It is a wonderful opportunity to stand here and recognize a young man who is truly all he set out to be.”
According to Francis, there were nights after a game where he would find Jayshawn Francis staying up late to make sure his homework was completed, and it paid off, as Jayshawn Francis is an All A's student.
“He could have easily given up, but he was determined,” said Francis. “I hope we have many more to follow in these two guys' footsteps.”
As Jayshawn Francis and Alondre Smith stood to speak, they remained humble, giving the honor entirely to God and crediting their success in this achievement to beloved teachers, coaches who demanded their best, parents who provided wisdom and support, teammates who stood beside them and to the school itself, for Somerset coming in and giving them the opportunity to shine.
“I had a great support system, they supported me every step of the way,” said Smith. “Without them? None of this would have happened.”
Jayshawn Francis has been playing football, baseball and track for two years and basketball for four years. He is still undecided in his major.
Alondre Smith has been playing track and football for two years. He is not yet certain on what major he will go after.
“You guys are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Coach Smith. “This is a legacy.”