When Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman first met Hershai James in 2016 at a charity dinner, he made her a promise: if she could make the honor roll in her upcoming senior year in high school, he would personally fund her college scholarship.
The All-Pro cornerback had been in Richmond, Va. to support his friend, former Seahawks player Michael Robinson, who had started a program to help children who were struggling to keep up with their education (Robinson and James both went to the same school — Varina High School).
“At the dinner when Richard Sherman came to me about the scholarship, I was in shock. I believe I said, ‘Really?’ for reassurance,” she told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I just felt so blessed to be given the wonderful opportunity.”
James reached her goal of raising her GPA to a 3.0, and making the honor roll. And Sherman came through with his promise.
“It goes back to knowledge is power and if you have knowledge you’re going to be as powerful as you ever want to be,” said Sherman, who is a Stanford graduate.
James says she worked hard to get to the goal, which kept her motivated throughout the school year.
“When my senior year began, I definitely had the scholarship in my head as motivation,” James said. “With being a senior, the year is really stressful. Having something to look forward to helped. It’s like saying my hard work and dedication had paid off.”
She will be attending Norfolk State University in the fall.