Jacksonville's PACE Center for Girls was treated to a visit today, October 19th from Jaguars quarterback Quinn Gray. In welcoming Gray the girls performed a few cheers, including a short dance routine expressing their support for the team and their appreciation in having Gray stop by to speak to them.
Gray spoke to the girls about life experiences and helped motivate them to continue to do well in their studies. "My father told me I had to get a scholarship to go to school or else I wasn't going…I made sure I did my best every day while in high school to keep and maintain good grades so that I could go to college, because I knew that was the only way for me to go," said Gray.
He then went on to tell the girls they need to have respect for themselves and for others. "There is one thing I think is very important to have, and that is respect. When I can look my teammates in the eye and know they have the same respect for me that I have for them, it's a very good thing," Gray said.
After Gray spoke to the girls he opened the floor for questions. There were a couple of personal questions like, "Are you married?" or "How old are you?" Gray, a little shy and hesitant to answer some of these questions, did so with a chuckle. "No, I'm not married, and I'm 25 years old."
One girl asked, "What did you major in in college?" Quinn replied, "I majored in physical education. It was originally English, but I changed it to physical education when I was a sophomore. Let me tell you a little story. When I was picked up by the Jaguars under Coach Coughlin I was cut by the team shortly afterwards. I went back down to south Florida and got my teaching certificate. I then became a substitute teacher; I've always wanted to teach. My dad was a football coach and later became a physical education teacher. Other people in my family were and some still are physical education teachers, so I decided to become one, too."
He then added, "After I was cut by the Jaguars I had to get a job, and that's when I knew how important it was for me to get an education and a degree, and I'm glad that I did so."
After the question and answer session, the girls were able to get the back of their t-shirts signed by Gray and pose for a group picture.
Caryn Kenny, Social Services Manager at PACE, had this to say about Quinn's visit: "He was interactive with the girls and answered all of their questions and signed autographs for them…having guests from the Jaguars is inspiring and motivating for the girls."
PACE Center for Girls' mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy.