NFL linebacker pushes the importance of academics in St. Louis charter schools

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ST. LOUIS – Foye Oluokun is an NFL linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons. Before his climb to the big leagues, he was just a kid from St. Louis who attended John Burroughs High School and a student-athlete who fell in love with the game of football.

Most young athletes dream of their talents taking them to the top. For Oluokun, he knew his education would lay the foundation for success on and off the field. That’s the message he strives to pass along to the student-athletes he works with today. On Wednesday he sat down with the football team at Lift for Life Academy St. Louis Charter School to discuss life, goals, and what it takes to achieve your dreams.

Although Oluokun did not attend LFLA, he has kept a special place in his heart for the school and the students. As a senior at John Burroughs, he was required to complete a project that required him to serve in the community. He became a math tutor at Lift for Life Academy and since then has built a long-lasting relationship with the students and staff.

“Anytime I was back in the city I felt like I could come back and talk to the kids and give them the same message I was given growing up, which is academics can really take you places,” said Oloukun.

From John Burroughs, Oluokun went on to play college football at Yale University. He graduated from Yale with a 3.4 GPA and was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His path to the NFL is what some might call untraditional.

“Becoming a guy from Yale in the league, I feel like academics are so important,” he said. “I feel like a lot of people think we are just football players but, for me, it’s always been academics first.”

During the 2020 NFL season, Oluokun participated in the My Cleats My Cause campaign and repped LIft for Life on his kicks. His main goal: to honor the academy and raise money to help students continue their success. He is also starting a national campaign to grow funds that will go towards providing the charter school with locker rooms for the student-athletes.

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