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“We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realize their full potential.

Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States



CONROE– One of the most important characteristics of success is knowing how to play the game of life on and off the field.

That was one of the main capsules of truth shared with over 112 children attending a youth training designed to equip their tool boxes with valuable information to help steer them through up and coming challenges to their education, in their neighborhoods and among friends.

The initiative is part of the The Wyms Foundation and dedicated its 2017 camp program to honor the athletic and community excellence and contributions of Gerald Irons Sr.

Iron, a 10 year NFL veteran and a dedicated father and husband who also served as former Conroe ISD School Board President.

The event was held at the Gerald D. Iron Sr. Junior High School in Conroe – which bears his name.

The camp also was for athletes and STEAM and stressed the value and benefits of being postive competitors in life


The Foundation

The Wyms Foundation creates programs that focus on Fitness, S.T.E.M. and Personal Intervention through E-Colors in Education.

The effort is the brainchild of Ellis R. Wyms. He proved to be a winner on and off the field and his life story reflects examples of  courage perseverance, hard work and a winning attitude.

Ellis played 8 years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Seattle Seahawks and The Minnesota Vikings.

Excellence in academics is something Ellis has always believed in and is the message he brings to youth around the country.  He understands that America’s educational system plays a pivotal role in the future of America.

The programs and events are designed to improve middle school age youth in 3 areas: S.T.E.M, Fitness and Personality Diversity with the goal to provide computer devices and online programming to schools and community centers that have summer enrichment and after school programs. The programming will immerse students into Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Fitness Gaming and Personality Diversity.

Power Youth Messages

– Gerald D. Irons

Irons was the first secondary school in the U.S. to be named after an NFL player.

He played professional football for the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns from 1970-80, moved to The Woodlands about 30 years ago.

In the decades since he has had a 32-year career with The Woodlands Development Company, served on CISD’s board of trustees for 22 years and written a book, “When Preparation Meets Opportunity,” with his wife, Myrna.

Originally from Gary, Indiana, Irons is the youngest of seven children in his family.

Being Unselfish and Giving Back

Irons has spent his life instilling the value of education in his own children and his message described positive reasons for being involved in making a difference in his community.

All three of his sons went to school in CISD and went on to receive full football scholarships. His oldest son, Gerald Jr., played for the University of Nebraska; his middle son, Jarrett, played for the University of Michigan; and his youngest son, Grant, played for the University of Notre Dame and went on to play professionally for the Oakland Raiders.

They worked hard and got good grades and got full scholarships to the colleges that they wanted to go to,” Irons said.

I always wanted to give back, and I knew how important education is to success in life,” he said.

Irons also said he wanted to be part of CISD’s school board because he wanted to provide the same motivation and inspiration to students that his parents provided for him and his siblings.

Five-Point Success Formula

Irons stressed 5 things that are keys need to practice now to stay on the right track.

His five-point formula for successful includes:

  • Attitude – “Believe in yourself and believe in your dream – say I can do this.”
  • Association – “History says you become the average of five people you spend most of your time with – take time with successful people.”
  • Action – “Action speaks louder that words – Do Something – Be person of action. If you purpose it go and achieve it.”
  • Application – “Learn what to do and what not to do and apply it to proper situations.”
  • Accountability – “Mean what you say and do what you do. Make your word stand and mean something to you.”

He topped off his words to the children calling for each to walk with character and integrity.

– Grant Irons

According to Grant Irons, Wyms and others speaking to youth nationwide involved in the program, the NFL experience helped to mold him  and inspired him to care about his community and understanding the importance of teamwork in the field of education of youth and preparing the next generation.

“Life has its ups and downs,” he said. “Only a winning mindset can overcome. So, think positive and always focus on what is right.”

Grant Irons is a former NFL player and American football defensive end. He played in 43 career games for the University of Notre Dame, making 26 starts at numerous positions on defense. He also played for the Buffalo Bills in 2002 and also played for the Oakland Raiders from 2003 to 2006.

In his post football career, he has built a successful career and business in medical health profession.

One of the most important message to youth involved stressing education and not giving up on building on talents and skills.

According to Irons, it all starts with selecting and surrounding yourself around the good people in your lives, such as father, mother, older brothers. That was giant key for him.

In high school, Irons not only shared the influence and impact of his mm and dad, but also it helped him become the top high school scholar athlete in the nation and led him to Notre Dame.

“The definition of greatness begins with selecting the proper role models and using talents as building blocks.” he told the youth sharing the importance of not allowing obstacles or others to get in the way. “Have a will to win and a desire to overcome. Focus on education and using your talents.”

Irons shared with students about the importance of time management on reaching goals.

Proper time Management

“Everyone of us has 24 hours,” Grant Irons said. “What you do with that 24 hours makes all the difference in the world.”

He urged the young people to pause 5 to 10 minute daily and focus on asking themselves what kind of person they want to be and to think and picture where each wants or where they want to be in 5, 10, or 15 years from now.


-Jackie Battle

Battle is a former American football running back.

He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 2007. He played college football at the University of Houston.

In addition to the Cowboys, Battle played for the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans.

“The NFL helped build my character. I used it to help me work harder to succeed,” he said. “I decided while I was playing for 8 years, I would never be outworked or outplayed –I played 8 years when average is three.”

Battle was born in  Humble, Texas and started his football career as a youth playing football in the Humble Area Football League  HAFL. Battle also attended Humble High School where he tallied 1,524 rushing yards and 20 total TDs. While at Humble he was twice selected 1st team All-District and was ranked by as the 38th best high school running back in America.

Goal Setting

He shared the importance of making sacrifices early to achieve short and long range goals.

Getting a degree is worth more than partying,” he said. “Its a choice and you can choose what and who you allow into your life.”

He also said it is important to choose a set of friends based on whether they help you and encourage you to succeed.


Using Failure Positively

According to Battle, failure should serve as a motivator.

Failure is a learning experience. When you fail, it gives you and opportunity to get up,” he said. “Be optimistic with failure and ask yourself what can I learn from it.”

He noted that young people need to learn early the notion that “Bad company corrupts good morals” and that bad people and influences can hurt chances for success.

Most of the young men he knew or grew up with from his area ended up in jail or not graduating from high school, he said.


Beating the Odds

You can beat a bad neighborhood and come out of a bad environment,” he said. ‘Take advantage of every opportunity, use your talents, be passionate and work hard to get to next level”.

To summarize he restated that wanting to be successful involves making the sacrifices, choosing the right friends and take care of your body.

Your goal should be to take care of yourself and work hard with a purpose,” Battle added. “Take charge of circumstances and trust in God to lead you.”

Christopher Bedford, 14, described the event and information as very useful.

It was a very interesting and I learned a lot,” he said. “I think that I am going to take some classes and design games.”

Interview By: Chandra Jarmon

Story By: Darwin Campbell