By Chris Chase

At 22 college campuses across the country, there are 79 students who may not otherwise be there if not for the generosity of Braylon Edwards.

As a Cleveland Browns rookie in 2005, Edwards announced he'd give $10,000 in scholarships to 100 area eighth-graders if they could graduate high school with over a 2.5 GPA and 15 hours community service. Of the 100 who were afforded the opportunity, 79 met the criteria and have begun their first year of college. Many are attending Ohio universities, but the schools represented spread across the country and include Harvard, Cornell and Johns Hopkins.

"Without this scholarship, I probably wouldn't be here," Bowling Green freshman David Gholston told ESPN's Rick Reilly.

Edwards and his mother developed the Advance 100 program as a way to give back. The way they saw it, they were blessed with Edwards' football abilities and felt the need to help out others with their good fortune. Though they didn't expect so many of the students to fit the criteria (only half of Cleveland public school students graduate high school), Edwards didn't shy away from his commitment. In fact, he increased it.

The 79 students were provided with laptops and other supplies to help them out when they arrived on campus.

"I'm supposed to give people a chance like I was given a chance," Edwards said.

Edwards hasn't played for the Browns in two years. He's a member of the San Francisco 49ers this season and is earning a $1 million base salary for the year, just about what he'll pay those 79 students he promised to help years ago.

National No Name Calling Week


Quail Valley Elementary - Exchange Hate for Greatness


Missouri City—From the United States Capital in Washington, D.C. to the great state of Texas, the issue of school bullying has moved from sidebar stories to front- page news. At Quail Valley Elementary School where great academics and behavior go hand in hand, students and faculty have made the issue of school bullying one of their major behavioral focuses.

January 24 through January 28, 2011, was “No Name-Calling Week” at Quail Valley Elementary School. Principal Amelia Perez said, “This is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.”

Tyrone Smith encouraging students to be respectful and to do the right thing.

On Friday, January 28, 2011 at 2 p.m., students, faculty and parents, with the help of music teacher Yvette Young-Scott, lined up in front of the school to spell out QVE-RESPECT, set to the legendary tune by recording artist Aretha Franklin. Thanks to PTO member, Michael Svatek, a helicopter will take an aerial photo of the formation. Mr. Svatek also provided the stage and sound for the pep rally.

Student activities Friday also include a pep rally, and students will hear from former professional football player Tyrone Smith, president of First and Goal, Inc. - Care and Share Mentoring Program. The students were so excited to have a former professional football player taking the time to speak to them. The way Mr. Smith approached the students was awesome! In his own way he was able to impact 630 students to listen and understand what he was saying. Sharing a few of his school experiences with friends not believing in him yet he held onto his dream of pursuing his career – to be professional football player. One sixth grader summed it up this way “Never give up on your dreams, keep going and believe in yourself”.

This year’s show of solidarity celebrates the school’s No Place for Hate designation by the ADL Plains States organization.

Quail Valley Elementary School parent, Catherine Zackery, developed this year’s theme EXCHANGE HATE FOR GREATNESS.” Ms. Zackery created a huge mural depicting the theme on a wall inside the school. Students and faculty members will wear buttons bearing the theme. The student body will also perform a rap, ‘We Don’t Bully at Our School,’ as part of the culmination of activities.

The Quail Valley Elementary counselor offers information to students to help prevent bullying and also provide information to parents about the school’s anti-bullying policy.

Students displaying their posters during the rally

Realizing Your Purpose

On October 28th Tyrone Smith had the opportunity to speak to students and staff at Baylor University Academy for Leader Development & Civic Engagement, Leadership in Contemporary Social Issues. It was truly special for Mr. Smith to go back to Baylor University where he graduated in May of 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. Tyrone Smith has taken the outstanding leadership skills that he possesses, and developed programs to help others learn the secrets to successful leadership. As co-founder of First and Goal, to become leaders in their personal and professional lives. His work with various groups has helped others not only gain the skills, but the confidence and character to become effective leaders.

Tyrone Smith pictured with Director, Romana Curtis and Administrative Assistant, Melinda Blomquist of the Academy for Leader Development & Civic Engagement

"Tyrone Smith has poured his passion and commitment into servant leadership," said Ramona Curtis, the director for Leader Development and Civic Engagement at Baylor. Student’s were inspired by his captivating and empowering words! His program transforms lives for current and future success.”

Ramona Curtis, Director
Academy for Leader Development & Civic Engagement
Baylor University


Hello Mr. Smith,
I just wanted to let you know that you had a great presentation and gave a great lecture. I truly admire what you are doing with the students and the program. I am a first generation college student myself, so I understand how nerve wrecking the first few steps of the college experience can be. I'm a sophomore but this is my first semester at Baylor.


“When Tyrone Smith presented to Baylor students this fall, he spoke from his life experience—and he also drew on his background in sociology to explain the social problems that youth face today. As a sociology professor, I was so excited to hear a graduate of our department using sociological concepts to explain his work to our undergraduates. Tyrone Smith, thanks for encouraging youth to pursue their dreams—and for serving the cause of public sociology!”

Dr. Lydia Bean

Professor of Sociology

Baylor University


Hi, I'm Josh Baker, a sophomore at Baylor University. Since I have been at Baylor I have attended a lot of speeches and I want you to know that I liked yours the most. Your speech was amazing. It was the first one I have attended that actually seemed to move me. When I left I felt inspired, motivated and ... I was filled with so many other emotions.