At the end of last term, Year 7 and Year 8 students at St Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath were treated to a whistle-stop visit from NFL Saints player and former student, Alex Jenkins, as he touched down in the UK for a season break to visit friends and family.
Alex was a pupil at St Gregory’s in Odd Down, Bath, before heading to the States for a scholarship and career in professional american football for the New Orleans Saints.
During his visit Alex presented the school with a special signed copy of his American Football shirt and gave a presentation to students on his career followed by a busy Q&A session, answering questions and talking frankly and honestly about the challenges and highlights along the way.
Speaking to students of his career, he said: “I was just this ordinary guy from a great school in a small city and had never thought I would go to university or have a professional career as an athlete so, when all this happened, it was a huge transition and something I had to really work through.”
“You have to learn a lot about yourself along the way and be prepared to lose games as well as win them. That’s what makes you a better player. It’s something we all have to learn at some point in our lives and you will too, you have to fail at things to be able to succeed.”
“This is the same for anyone who wants to make their dreams come true. All of a sudden, I had the chance to go to university and study for a degree, at the same time as playing a sport that I love. I was just a little kid from Odd Down who made it big so if I can do it, any of you can do it!”
While visiting the school Alex also got a chance to join in ‘cake Friday’ with staff and meet up with his former teachers, including his science teacher, Abi Bowman, who organised the visit.
“Alex is such a humble and inspirational young man and we are so pleased that he wants to come back to St Gregory’s and share his story with us and help to inspire others around him. As a student at St Gregory’s he was a fantastic sportsman and great role model; it’s lovely to see that fame and fortune hasn’t changed him one little bit!” said Abi.
Headmistress, Ann Cusack, said, “I am delighted that Alex continues to feel that St Gregory’s is still his home and we are so proud to have been a part of his journey to success and achieving his dreams and ambitions. Alex’s visit created a real buzz and everyone enjoyed hearing about the stories and anecdotes from his time at St Gregory’s and of his amazing career in the USA. We wish him every success for next season and look forward to welcoming him back soon.”