Men's basketball forward Diamon Simpson made his second visit in recent weeks to his hometown of Hayward to give an inspirational talk to kids at Markham Elementary School about the importance of attending college.
Markham students and principal Diana Levy welcomed Simpson and SMC alumnus Chris Major '83. Major heads up the Hayward Youth Academy (HYA) and has arranged to have three men's basketball games labeled as "Diamon Simpson Nights." Some of the students from Markham attended the first "Diamon Night" back on November 14, and 10 were presented with certificates for excellent achievements in the classroom.
At future "Diamon Nights," the HYA will bring 300 kids per game from Hayward to McKeon Pavilion to cheer on Simpson and the Gaels. The kids will all have the opportunity to sit in the "Diamon Center" during the game and to meet Simpson afterwards. Prior to tip-off, a representative from the College's Admissions Office and High Potential Program will talk to the kids about college and the admissions process.
At Markham Elementary, Major spoke about the HYA program and then introduced Simpson, who was sitting next to the podium. When Simpson stood up, the students looked in awe at his 6-foot-7 frame.
He spoke about his upbringing and some of his favorite Hayward hangouts. He reminded students to "work hard in the classroom to have a successful future."
Markham Elementary has received tickets to future "Diamon Nights" to distribute to students.
A version of this article originally appeared on Smcgaels.com. For more info on Hayward Youth Academy, visit the HYA website.