Buffalo, NY - Head coach Earl Schunk, Devon Camel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga), and Simeon Heard (Rochester, NY/Charles Finney) of the D'Youville men's basketball team recently spoke in front of 200 seventh and eighth graders at South Buffalo Charter School to talk about their lives at the collegiate level.
A presentation on students participation in high school and collegiate athletics was given by coach Schunk with both Heard and Camel speaking to the group about their experiences as student-athletes. The two players told their individual stories of how they became collegiate student-athletes as well as offered advice to the students and answered questions.
Both Camel and Heard were once in similar shoes to the students they spoke to at South Buffalo Charter. The two upperclassmen expanded on their experiences on getting to where they are now as well as what they took away from the sharing of their stories.
"It was a great experience having the opportunity to come in and speak with the youth about playing sports and getting to the collegiate level," said Camel. "It seems like just yesterday I as in Cheektowaga's auditorium receiving almost the exact same speech thinking about how college seemed so far from that time and here I am now giving the next generation of athletes that same speech.
"All in all, it was a great feeling being able to tell my story and try to prepare the youth for their near future."
Like Camel, Heard felt relatable to the students in which were spoken to as he was on the other side of the presentation in the not so distant past.
"It was awesome to come and speak to kids whose shoes I was just in not too long ago," said Heard. "When I was in eighth grade I didn't know the exact path to be a collegiate athlete, but I just made sure I just gave my best effort in every opportunity (school, sports, family), so it could better my chances to get into a university."
"I thought it was important to let the kids know that everything they do matters in the long run," Heard continued. "Every test, every chore, every drill, and their actions towards everyone matters. It's pivotal for them to know that athletic talent can get them into a college, but character and discipline sustain success at that level."
"I have grown a lot as a young man since I was in eighth grade but the roots of who I am has not changed," Head recalled. "So, hopefully my words were able to strengthen their foundation as athletes and as young adults I consider it a blessing to have the opportunity to help young athletes flourish."
As part of this program, team members from South Buffalo Charter will return in the fall to run a free basketball clinic at the school.