Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis has always told us that when you look back on a 27-year history that spans thousands of stories, the most successful are the ones that stand out.
When one of those stories defines how Paul Savramis measures the success of the Rising Stars programs, he can't wait to share it. This month's story is one Savramis tells with a great deal of pride as it does just that. That story Savramis shares is the CJ Williams story.
CJ Williams came to Rising Stars as one of the bigger boys in his grade. Pretty quickly, he began to stand out on the basketball court. But, Savramis would go on to explain, it was what CJ’s parents would share about CJ above and beyond basketball that caught his attention and made him believe this was going to be someone very special.
“CJ was without a doubt a great player at a young age,” continued Paul Savramis, “but his parents told me he also loved to play in the band, throw the discus and shotput for field, play football, and even dance!” To add to that, Paul Savramis said CJ was driven to excel in school.
Savramis has always shared the pillars that the Rising Stars Foundation was built on with the parents: To Play. To Learn. To Grow. CJ was already very motivated to Play and Learn. With those two pillars already solidly in place, here you had that rare combination that successful Growth is built on.
Having a wide variety of interests is the best path to take in order to Grow, Savramis believes. So when CJ was at band practice, or at any other interest, Rising Stars was there to support him. "The Rising Stars Foundation has got to be more than just a basketball program to see sustainable success from our scholar athletes," says Savramis.
But Savramis also remembers that CJ always found a way to include everything in his path with an incredible balance. Basketball was a big factor in high school, and CJ led his Friends Academy team to a state title, Paul Savamis recounted fondly.
Following that, CJ went on to play football at Deerfield and was awarded a scholarship to play at Vanderbilt. Savramis shares CJ's story with pride and a great satisfaction in seeing how the idea of having many interests in high school contributes to successful growth. "You cannot be anything but encouraged when you see someone you care for make it today, and that's what CJ did. And did it in a big way," concludes Savramis.