Gradelink
Amelia Academy

photoAA Senior Da’Juan E. Delivers Chapel Talk

2017, March 20 – Hard work and dedication lead to success, said Da’Juan E. in his chapel talk. And, he was speaking with the voice of experience. “I had to learn the hard way,” he said.

What began with an experience in the seventh grade became a journey of perseverance for Da’Juan. “I was moved to second-string running back during the football season,” he said. This disappointment spurred his resolve to work harder; however, nothing changed.

When basketball season arrived that year, Da’Juan tried out for the Providence Middle School team. Even though he had never played basketball on a team, he worked hard. “The more I focused, the more I learned,” he said.

Da’Juan was elated to make the team and was not disappointed to play second-string that season. “I still had more work to do,” he said. As the season progressed, he felt more confident.

During the summer after seventh grade, his love for basketball led to a difficult decision to quit football in the next school year. He had worked hard to improve in basketball over the summer but still did not make the starting lineup. “It was an eye-opener for me when I was sitting on the bench,” he said. “I gained experience . . . but I still had more work to do.”

In high school, Da’Juan played on the junior varsity teams at James River High School and then L.C. Bird High School in Chesterfield. By his junior year, he felt confident as he approached his first season on the varsity team. However, after tryouts, he was named one of four players on the bench. “I started to wonder what I was doing wrong, and it made me work harder,” he said.

That same season, before the playoffs began, his coach told Da’Juan and another player that they were being cut from the team. “I cried on the way home, but I didn’t dwell on it,” he said. Instead, he decided to try and play at another school.

That is how he came to Amelia Academy. He was invited to work out with the team and decided to make the change to a new school. He expressed his appreciation to his parents who made sacrifices so that he could attend the Academy.
Da’Juan also thanked the students and teachers who “pushed him and helped him to become the person I am today.”

As an AA Patriot over the past two years, Da’Juan has played varsity basketball. Rodney L. Taylor, head of school, said, “Da’Juan has matured so much over the past year. The effort he has put forth on the court has transcended to his academics. He has worked tirelessly in both arenas, and it is being noticed. A number of colleges want him to attend as a student-athlete, including a Division I program.”

Attending his chapel talk were Da’Juan’s mother, Juanita E., his grandmother, Karen B., and his godfather, Jimmy S. Also present as special guests were fellow classmates and teammates, Leland H. and Maxwell M.

After the program, the senior class and guests attended a reception in Da’Juan’s honor.