Camelot Grad Emerges as Leader – will Play Linebacker at Maryland
All of the alternative education schools in the Camelot Education family can proudly point to their success stories – students who have overcome negative environments and flourished. Each school can say “look at these students who came to us in a broken state. This is what they were. See where these young people are now?”
Camelot Education’s Cunningham Academy has proudly served Vineland Public Schools for three years. The successes have been many but recently, one young man was able to see a dream become reality. Nihym Anderson formally signed to proceed with his post-secondary education with the University of Maryland on a full scholarship to play football.
“When he first came to us, Nihym had some serious behavioral issues,” said program manager Hamidullah Lundy. “There was a real struggle for about a month. Plus he was dealing with the emotional pressures associated with his father’s passing. It was tough for him. Then things began to change. I knew a change had happened when one day he said, ‘I love you guys.’”
According to Lundy, a defiant young man became one of the student leaders. His prideful and arrogant manner became one of mutual respect. He became a member of the student government. He always had the dream of playing college football; the problem was how he would achieve it.
“It was an amazing turnaround,” Lundy said. “Now, a mature young man, he has overcome the obstacles of life to reach the first of many major goals. It’s something we teach; to accept confrontation; right, wrong, weak or strong. It’s like during a football game. Sometimes you get a penalty and rather than argue you have to live with it. The decision’s been made and you keep playing.”
Anderson, who played football for Vineland High School was able to continue playing even though he was attending Cunningham Academy. Through a partnership between the schools he was able to continue his athletic participation through meeting academic standards and attendance. Anderson, 18, said it feels good to have so many people show their pride in what he has become. In high school he played the outside linebacker position. At the University of Maryland he’ll be a middle linebacker.
“I received offers from 13 schools,” Anderson said. “I actually only visited four or five but as soon as I got to the Maryland campus, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I loved the campus and the coaches. I knew it was a place where I would be successful. Being at Cunningham taught me a level of independence. It was on me to make my classes and complete assignments, just like it’s going to be at the university. It’s on me to get my work done.”
Anderson, who has become a local celebrity, knows that the younger children admire and look up to him. He gives his time with the Pee Wee teams but plans to spend his last couple of weeks (he is a mid-year graduate) before departing to Maryland with his family. He leaves Vineland, New Jersey on January 20th. He plans to major in criminal justice.
“You have to know that it doesn’t matter how old you are, someone younger is looking up to you and you want to set a good example.”