Georgetown Football Captains and Coach Kevin Kelly Speak to Middle School Students About the Importance of Education

Nathan Zimmel and the Hoyas captains spoke to middle school students from Shady Grove Middle School on Thursday.

Oct. 21, 2011

WASHINGTON - As soon as practice ended on Thursday morning, Georgetown football captains Wayne Heimuli (Euless, Texas/Trinity), Jeremiah Kayal (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) and Nathan Zimmel (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) met Head Coach Kevin Kelly in the Blue Team Room in McDonough Arena to speak to students from Shady Grove Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md., about the importance of education and challenging yourself from a young age.

The coach and captains told stories from their own lives and shared advice they had received from parents, teachers and coaches and how the way they received that advice shaped their own story. They also answered questions from the students and their teachers about their own goals and aspirations beyond the football field.

"This means so much to the students and the school," Principal Edward Owusu, the uncle of Hoyas wide receiver Elliott Owusu, said. "These kids do have the capability to excel, but sometimes don't have the support at home or the vision needed, so coming here they can actually see what they can aspire to. Of course, not every kid will get into Georgetown, but just having the vision allows them to go a little bit further."

Kayal, a finance major in the McDonough School of Business, talked to the students about the importance of taking direction and appreciating the wisdom of teachers and other older role models in their lives.

"You have to learn to take teaching or coaching," Kayal told the students. "In football when a coach tells you, you have to take this step, you might think, I know, you've told us that a thousand times, but you have to really absorb it and make it a part of your nature. You just have to realize that the people who are giving you advice have been where you are, so you need to take as much advice and the life lessons as you can."



Zimmel, a finance and international business major in the McDonough School of Business, talked to the students about the importance of challenging themselves in the present, discussing how his heavy workload throughout his scholastic career, even though he may not have enjoyed it at the time, has put him a good position for college success.

"This may sound cliché," Zimmel said. "In middle school and high school, I complained about all of the work I had to do, but when I got to college I realized what real work is. Starting in middle school you aren't sure if you should take the harder classes, because of all the work, but the earlier you take those classes in middle school you can handle the workload for high school and for high school it will help you when you got to college. I know if I wouldn't have taken those classes in middle school and high school I would have struggled when I got here."

Heimuli, a government and theology double major, warned the students about trying to take the easy way out at a young age, offering reluctant testimony from his own life experiences and letting the students know that the decisions they make now will eventually catch up to them.

"Don't take school for granted," Heimuli said. "Every opportunity you get to better yourself, take it. I was in advanced classes through my elementary to junior high career, but when I got to high school I just started thinking about football, so I dropped out of a lot of the AP courses to make it easier on myself, but that actually hurt me the most. When I got here my freshman year I struggled. Those classes help you so much. It's hard now, there isn't much in life that isn't hard, but challenging yourself now will make everything in high school and college that much easier."

Coach Kelly wrapped up the hour long talk and question and answer session with advice that those who have spent any time around the Georgetown football program during his tenure have heard him speak about.

"I like to talk about the three D's and that's decisions determine destiny," Kelly told the students. "What that means is that everything you decide to do, determines your future. All of you have a great opportunity in front of you and the common thread is this, hard work in the classroom will give you a lot of choices one day. Athletics or other activities you are involved in can be a vehicle to get you to a place like Georgetown, but these gentlemen right here, if they didn't have the grades they could not play football here."

Following the talk students had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with Heimuli, Kayal and Zimmel and get autographs from the three senior captains, who will suit up to play against Patriot League rival Colgate on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. for the Hoyas' homecoming game.

TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets for the Hoyas Homecoming game with Colgate at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 22 are still available. Tickets for either of Georgetown's two remaining home games can be purchased by calling the Hoyas box office at (202) 687-HOYA (4692) or visiting the team's official website - - and visiting

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