Holyoke’s Graciousness Advances White’s Education
HOLYOKE, Mass (WGGB) — As the sanctuary of a football field rests for the winter, it serves as a time for talent to better their craft at new opportunities. Holyoke’s Justin White and his hard work as a two-sport athlete presented the chance to do exactly that after being offered a partial football scholarship to play post-grad at Milford Academy in New York.
“I knew I didn’t do that well the first two years I had been in high school,” White said, “I’m really pushing towards building on my academics now so I can pursue a career in college.”
However, there was one major dilemma in order to play at one of the top prep schools in the country; he needed $15,000 and the money wasn’t there. The wide receiver’s head coach Bob Lastkowski decided he needed to take it upon himself by way of crowd funding in order for White to receive this golden opportunity.
“I just decided I wasn’t gonna let him fall through the cracks. We all know stories, we all know every city- especially the inner city- who have potential and they get caught by the streets or whatever it happens to be,” Lastkowski said, “I just wanted to get him to where he could get the opportunity to pursue a division one scholarship and go beyond from there.”
“Oh, I was shocked. At first I didn’t know that this was gonna happen,” White said, “Then I went online and my coach contacted me and told me all about it and to see all the donations is just crazy.”
$15,000, obviously a tremendous number to reach. In order for White to continue to playing he needed help and the school needed help. They got that not only from Western Mass but all across the country.
“Most people have a connection to the football team or Justin or the city of Holyoke but so many don’t,” Lastkowski said, “There are so many out there that just want to help a good kid.”
“(My family) didn’t believe it until I showed them. So having my coach contact my grandmother who I live with and almost having her in tears about how much donations we got up together. It’s amazing,” White said.
As of today, the goal has been surpassed with the totals reaching upwards of over $17,000. Now the senior is ready to use the opportunity to build a foundation for the rest of his life.
“I wanna make everybody else proud but at the end of the day I need to just make myself proud and work as hard as possible so in the future I can live and just have a great life for me and my family,” White said.
“I just wanna thank the whole city of Holyoke and all my supporters. It’s amazing, it’s truly amazing. It’s a blessing.”
In a world often overshadowed by trouble, White’s story is a refreshing reminder of the truly good people who exist