“You may not know how much you have influenced me, but I can't thank you enough. Who would have thought that one word could change an average kid into a State Champion. Sometimes passion is all that matters. Thank you for teaching me that. It's the most rewarding message that I've received during my four years at Oakcrest High school.” That one word Marcus Allen was referring to was “passion” and written above was part of a thank-you note sent to me after Marcus Allen graduated from Oakcrest High School in 1999. He resumed his athletic career at Rutgers University as a scholarship track athlete. In 1990, I had established name-painting on my classroom wall for those students who had accomplished big goals while attending high school, and Marcus Allen had only needed one word to make it to that wall: passion.
Marcus was a very quiet and reserved student in his freshman health class. If he said four words all year, that would be a lot! I knew of his track accomplishments but never imagined there was any connection to our health class freshman year. I was humbled to receive this note of thanks from Marcus. In hindsight, passion for his sport was a way of life! In his brief note, he included his 3×5 goal card that went something like this: Goals written and achieved were Team Captain, Team MVP, 1st Team All Conference, League Champ in long jump, County Champ in Long Jump, and State Champ in the Long Jump. These goals were handwritten by Marcus before his senior track season. Les Petty, our track coach, did an outstanding job guiding Marcus to greatness! The wall was established 5 years before Marcus entered Oakcrest. He was present when his name was added to the current list on the wall in room 201. Marcus Allen was inducted into the Oakcrest Sports Hall Of Fame in 2006 commemorating his athletic accomplishments! Passion is born when you get a glimpse of your potiential!