Athletes Highlight Education as Key to Their Success

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Athletes Highlight Education as Key to Their Success

Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets and Myron Rolle, former Florida State football player and current Rhodes Scholar, share their personal stories to encourage students to take responsibility for their education

November 24, 2009

Shane Battier and Myron Rolle taped video addresses for the “I Am What I Learn” video contest, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and YouTube. In their videos, they each describe the role education plays in their lives, and they encourage students to dedicate themselves to their own education.

Battier explains how he faced the same challenges in school as he did on the basketball court.

”… [T]he journey to the NBA was a very difficult one,” Battier says, “one where I was doubted every step of the way‧ The same thing happened in school. People looked at me and didn't give me a chance to be a good student, and I took that as a challenge…I put as much energy into school as I did [in] basketball, [and I] proved people wrong.”

Click here to watch Shane Battier's story.

Myron Rolle talks about his decision to defer the 2009 NFL Draft to pursue a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.

“The day that I won the Rhodes Scholarship was truly incredible,” Rolle says. “I think our football coach Bobby Bowden put it best [when] he said, 'This is not only a win for Myron Rolle, but this is a win for Florida State University and all kids who really are serious about their academics.'”

Rolle also encourages young students to make their education a priority.

“I hope my decision to delay my NFL career and study at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar can influence and impact the younger generation to embrace the life of being an academic,” Rolle adds. “They say if you're a nerd or a geek, so to speak, that you're uncool, that being smart isn't the way to do it. Well, to me, that’s not true. To me, the people who are running the country, who are making changes, who are written about in history books are the ones who focused in school and developed [their] education.”

Click here to watch Myron Rolle's story.

Shane Battier and Myron Rolle's stories illustrate the impact academics makes on their lives, and these stories encourage students across the country to take responsibility for achieving the best education possible.

The “I Am What I Learn” video contest launched Sept. 21. More than 600 students submitted videos describing their academic goals and the role education plays in determining their future. Ten finalists were announced on Nov. 16. The YouTube public can vote on the videos at The three videos with the most votes will be announced in mid-December. Each winner will be awarded a $1,000 prize issued by the U.S. Department of Education.