My father played football at Fulton High, and received a scholarship to play football at Vanderbilt. He declined. He always wanted to be a Volunteer. Before setting foot on the University of Tennessee campus, my father joined the Air Force to serve his country during the Vietnam War. After the war, he officially matriculated to Tennessee, where he met my wonderful mother.
My parents raised us Vols fans. I bled orange and white. My first football games were at Neyland Stadium. I watched Leonard Little wreak havoc on defense, and Peyton Manning thread the needle unlike anyone else I’ve ever seen. Later on, at 17, I swore I was going to be a journalist and “change the world”. A newspaper journalist at that. I excitedly tore into my acceptance letter from UT back in 1999. But the HOPE scholarship and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia was hard to turn down. I went to UGA, started out in Journalism and Statistic, but eventually changed to Computer Science and Statistics. I still write, but I write in code instead of in prose.
After my second year of college, I had lost my HOPE scholarship, and then took “a semester off”. After a 4-year long ahem “semester”, I knew I needed to get myself together and finish school. My father pushed me to go back, and he is the catalyst that helped me across the finish line.
My father helped myself, my brother, and my sister at critical points in our lives. Even though my degrees from UGA have led to my career in software engineering, I owe my success to my father–and to his education from UT.