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New York Giants linebacker visits North Chatham

By Beth S. McCullough
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005

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During the last period of the day on Wednesday, February 9, students in grades five through eight at North Chatham School were treated to an assembly with Kevin Lewis, starting middle linebacker with the New York Giants, as guest speaker. Lewis was introduced by Dr. Malbert Smith, who works at Duke and is a North Chatham parent.

Lewis was raised in Orlando, Florida, played football and basketball as a high school student. When Dr. Smith introduced him to the audience, he noted that Lewis was also a member of the National Honor Society being a strong student academically. His athletic and academic achievements enabled him to play collegiate football at Duke University. As a Duke graduate, Lewis enjoyed lively conversations with the students about the Duke/UNC Chapel Hill basketball game coming up the night of February 9.

“I won't get sent home because I'm not prepared,” said Lewis in discussing his attitude during his first tryout for the New York Giants as a free agent. Lewis explained to the audience how he had to work diligently to realize his goal of being a football player in the National Football League. He made the team that year and, through the team's success over the course of the season, earned a NFC championship ring. During his time with the Giants over the past five years, Lewis has worked his way from the practice team to special teams and now to his starting defensive position.

The linebacker encouraged the students to take charge of their own goals and dreams by saying, “Let it be up to you that you make or break what you're trying to do.”

“It's all about what you do… Hard work does pay,” he said. He noted how family members and school staff can help students in achieving their personal best.

Following his motivational speech, Lewis fielded questions from the audience. Students wanted to know how difficult the travel was as an NFL player; what his plans were after football; who were the most difficult teams he had played against; and what it was like to play against famous athletes. Lewis shared that his approach to the last item was that each player becomes identifiable by the number on his jersey during the game, not by his fame.

Lewis was accompanied by his father, who helped him present Principal Carrie Little and Assistant Principal Shelia Bennett with game jerseys. Lewis signed photos for all of the students in the audience to have and took time to sign footballs brought by some students. Lewis visited with the North Chatham boys and girls basketball teams on Tuesday.

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New York Giants linebacker visits North Chatham
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