Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White visits Mays High School

Roddy White works it out with the Mays High cheerleaders (Photo: Jason Getz/AJC)

Roddy White works it out with the Mays High cheerleaders (Photo: Jason Getz/AJC)

Roddy White said he never got to meet a professional athlete during his high school days in South Carolina.

The Falcons wide receiver made that happen for the students at Mays High School on Tuesday, and as a bonus, White got to to fulfill another of his childhood wishes.

For one day at the southwest Atlanta school White took on the roles of teacher, cheerleader, band member and football coach. In what should produce little surprise considering White’s loquaciousness, the highlight for him may have been making an announcement over the school’s public-address system.

“I always wanted to do that since I was a little kid,” White said.

White, 30, told the school’s students he was excited to be there and that he’d walk around the building to talk with them.

“I didn’t even tell them my name, but they figured it out,” White said. “So I know they are football fans. That was a great thing.”

White was at Mays as part of Duracell’s “Trust Your Power” program. The company donated football gear, a defibrillator and other items to the school, including calculators that White handed out in a classroom.

White is a multimillionaire and an NFL star, but said he still can relate to kids.

“It’s always good, especially when you are doing things like this,” he said. “I remember being in the same shoes and looking up and just wishing someone [famous] would come through those doors. It never happened for me.

“When they can actually see you, touch you and feel you it’s totally different than me coming through a TV screen. Once they see you in the physical, they believe and they go a little harder.”

A visit from White probably would generate excitement any time, but it likely didn’t hurt that the Falcons are riding high.

The Falcons (3-0) are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL. White has 19 catches for 244 yards and a touchdown this season.

“We are playing well right now,” White said. “We are locked in and ready to roll. We are just going to continue to do what we do. It’s football season. When we have some downtime, we stay in the community. You always want to give back.”

After school let out for the day, White took to the Mays football field. Before the team arrived for practice, White marched with the band’s drum line.

White said it was more difficult than he expected.

“He was good,” junior band member Amanda Watts said.

“He was all right,” senior Jordan Carter said, laughing.

White left the field as members of the football team began to arrive for practice. He reappeared later, put on a Mays football jersey and worked with the team’s wide receivers during practice.

White later huddled the team for a pep talk.

“Trust your power and believe in what you do, whether that’s in the classroom, football or whatever,” White said.

White told the players that individual accolades are nice but winning is what’s most important, and that takes a team effort. He noted that he’s been named to four Pro Bowl rosters but lacks an NFL championship.

White’s appearance at Mays was supposed to be a surprise, but word got out beforehand to at least some students.

“We found out yesterday,” Carter said. “We were ecstatic.”

25 comments Add your comment

who dat? we dat! go dirty birds!

September 26th, 2012
9:59 am

way to go roddy! i love it when ppl give back to the community. we support you 100%!


September 26th, 2012
10:19 am

I love seeing our players give back. It looks like Roddy was there almost all day and judging from the pictures, he had just as much fun as the students.


September 26th, 2012
10:23 am

Good for you, Roddy! Giving back to the community is the hallmark of a good person and a real pro! Now, give that same pep talk to your wayward teammates, and let’s not read their names in the police blotter after the Panthers game!


September 26th, 2012
11:05 am

Thank You Roddy! And You went to a high school and talked to some students that look, walk, talk, and act like you. They experience the same struggles as you when you were in high school. Salute to you big dogg!!!

rollo lawson

September 26th, 2012
11:25 am

Roddy and William Moore are my favorite Falcon players. You can tell that he is an honest and all-around good guy. I really started liking him when he was the only player on offense that would challenge Mularkey and his ineptness. I guess Roddy was right afterall!!


September 26th, 2012
12:05 pm

Good Stuff RW!!

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]


September 26th, 2012
1:05 pm

Yes I am a Redskins fan but I am also a Roddy White fan. I pick u up in fantasy every year (at least try 2) because you produce… and it seems like you produce in other ways. I know that meant a lot to the kids. Many of celebs from any career: sports or actors, from any and many walks of life don’t do that! It’s letting the kids know that you are real, a real person that came from where they are. It shows with dedication and hard work that you can be whatever you want. That’s sexy, attractive…. Defines a REAL MAN!!

Answer this

September 26th, 2012
1:20 pm

Roddy White is the man! Produce on the field and in the community! Darn these Birds are what Atlanta needs!

Scam the entitlement baby

September 26th, 2012
2:32 pm

Scam Newton never puts any blame on himself for losses. Says this part of team needs to play better and that part of team needs to play better. But never says he needs to play better.
Scam is a loser crybaby.
Actually he’s an entitlement crybaby.

Go Falcons

September 26th, 2012
2:36 pm

Scam the computer thief and his pimp daddy are ghetto scum

Sheep+ People= Sheeple.

September 26th, 2012
3:23 pm

Good lord! That means these kids have no hope! Roddy White is ignorant! Wasn’t he just sued for child support? A child he didn’t ‘t want to support? And quit acting like he initiated all of this on his own! The community service stuff is mandatory for the Falcons, and it was just Roddy’s turn. Playing a child’s game doesn’t make one a hero! If Roddy wants to make a real difference, he should donate a portion of his earnings to a homeless/ hungry family, instead of goofing off and giving away tax deductible calculators that Blank probably paid for.

Sugar Hill Dawg

September 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

Sheep+ People= Sheeple – why all the hate? I don’t give a rat’s behind why Roddy showed up – he spent his free time connecting with kids! Give him his props! I’ve taught.HS for 37 years – I know I’ve made a difference in my students’ lives – I guarantee his time was well spent! Those kids will never forget his day with them – could inspire some of the kids on the edge of giving up to keep on the path to success! Thanks, Roddy!


September 26th, 2012
4:15 pm

Way to go Roddy!


September 26th, 2012
4:51 pm

MC, thanks for sharing this story. Hopefully in your new role, more stories like this can be shared in the AJC. Believe or not, there are positive things going on in our schools. Unfortunately much of the focus seems to be on the ‘knuckleheads’, that represent a minority of those in our schools. Thanks to Roddy for visiting Mays and connecting with students. As Sugar Hill Dawg said, I’m sure he inspired at least one student during this visit.

[...] takes a place on the practice squad vacated by safety Mark LeGree, who I was onl more… Atlanta Falcons: Roddy White visits Mays High School – 09/26/2012 Roddy White works it out with the Mays High cheerleaders (Photo: [...]

[...] Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School [...]


September 27th, 2012
8:47 am

ignorant+sheep+people= ignorant sheeple^^^^^^^^^^


September 27th, 2012
9:43 am

Kudos to Roddy White and any other prefoessional athlete, celebrity or average Joe that gives back to the community. Whether it’s an hour or a day, it means a lot to the kids and Lord knows today’s children need as much inspiration and hope as they can get. I hope it inspires others to follow suit.

Falcons Chic

September 27th, 2012
10:39 am

I like the fact that he hung out with the band and cheerleaders as well as the team…

[...] Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School [...]

[...] Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School [...]

[...] Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School [...]

[...] Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School [...]

[...] a band member, a football coach, and even a “lunch-lady” for a day.  According to the AJC report, one of White’s highlights was to get on the PA system in the morning to announce his [...]