Jerod Mayo, first team All-SEC middle linebacker with the University of Tennessee, was in Blount County on a mission: to tell students to stay in school.
Mayo came to Heritage Middle School to participate in a class called Power of One.
“He talked about staying in school,” said teacher Jon Young. “He talked about some of the things he went through growing up, and he had good advice for our kids. He was a perfect role model.”
The class is new this year and was implemented in the second nine-week grading period. “The class is called The Power of One, and it’s like a service, learning and leadership class,” Young said. The class is an elective that primarily eighth graders take.
Young’s brother, Justin Young, works in the Sports Information Department at UT and helped arrange the speaking engagement. “I thought it would be neat to let him come in and talk to our kids about leadership,” Jon Young said. “I’ve heard a lot from my brother about what type of guy he is. He (Mayo) graduated in three and half years, which is remarkable now days. I thought it would be good for a guy of his caliber to come.”
Young said Mayo answered questions, of which the kids had many. “He spent a lot of time signing autographs,” Jon Young said. “I bet he signed over 100 autographs for kids in all grades.”
Young said the students enjoyed seeing the UT football player. “We appreciate him coming out and doing this. Like I told the kids, he didn’t get any credit hours for coming out,” the teacher said. “He came on his break, and I know the kids loved it. He made a really big impression on Heritage Middle School.”