Before Westerville South High School alum Abu Daramy-Swaray addresses all Emerson Elementary students in a special presentation on Dec. 8, he met with the building’s student leaders to better understand what’s on their mind, how they are feeling and what topics to cover.
The fifth-graders who make up the school’s Equity at Emerson Change Makers group did not hold back.
I’m sometimes shy.
I’m not confident in myself.
I have a problem with insulting myself.
“Speaking to them really did help the conversation for me,” said Daramy-Swaray, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals in May before being cut prior to the start of the season. He recently signed with the Renegades, an XFL team in Arlington, Texas that debuts in February.
“It’s going to help me dive deeper into what I’m going to speak to: confidence and fitting in.”
School leaders invited the 2015 WSHS alum to speak to students and share his story moving to Columbus from Sierra Leone, the importance of his cultural heritage, his football career and what has helped him to where he is now.
“I like it when speakers come,” said Averie Cofie, a fifth-grader and member of the Change Makers group. “They motivate you. You want to hear about different experiences.”
His visit to Emerson marks his first to an elementary school; Daramy-Swaray has presented to students at Heritage Middle School as well as football teams in Westerville.