02/06/05 — NFL star visits students at Meadow Lane

View Archive

NFL star visits students at Meadow Lane

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 6, 2005 9:01 AM

David Thornton, a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League, visited third- and fourth-grade students at Meadow Lane Elementary School on Friday.

Thornton, a graduate of Goldsboro High School, was invited to speak to students by school counselors Vicki Phillips and Michelle Gurley as a kick-off to National School Counseling Week, which starts Monday. The theme for the week, Celebrating Heroes, will focus on family, school, community, military, and famous heroes.

Thornton's nephew, Aaquan Butler, is a fourth-grade student at Meadow Lane in Emily West's class. With some help from his nephew, Thornton talked about his growing up in Wayne County. He spoke of his love for sports and expectations by his father to excel in academics in order to play.

As a young boy, Thornton said he played basketball at the Boys and Girls Club under the coaching of Marion Roden, who is currently a fourth-grade teacher at Meadow Lane. He said he stayed involved in his church by singing in the choir.

In high school, Thornton said he was a drum major, president of the National Honor Society, president of the student body, and a football, basketball, and baseball player. He said that while he was a student-athlete at UNC-Chapel Hill he was cut from tryouts for the basketball team, an experience he used to teach the students about persistence.

He said didn't give up after being cut, but instead tried out for the football team, where he made the squad as a non-scholarship player.

Thornton played for four years at UNC as a walk-on. During his fifth year, he received a scholarship. He was chosen in the fourth round of the NFL draft upon graduating from college with a Sports Administration degree. He has played with the Indianapolis Colts for three years.

Thornton made reference to the acronym -- 'RICHER' Respect, Integrity, Consistent Character, Harmony, Excellence, Responsibility --to explain his personal formula for becoming a "rich" person. He said that real wealth is not material things but the lifestyle within that makes a person successful.

Thornton shared Colt pictures, pencils, pennants, and sticker memorabilia with students. As a thank you for his taking time out to share with students, he was given a Meadow Lane gift bag and embroidered hat with the Meadow Lane Dragon mascot on the front and the number 50, Thornton's NFL number, on the back.