Did students at Altmar-Parish-Williamstown High School and Middle School enjoy the message brought to them by former Ohio State University Defensive Lineman Joel Penton, about standing their ground and keeping commitments? The answer would be an overwhelming “Awww Yeeaah!” The phrase was used by Penton whenever he did something great on the football field and students at the school quickly picked up the catch phrase throughout his hour-long presentation, saying it whenever Penton played music.
Make a commitment to do something great, but more importantly, keep your commitments, follow through and stand your ground, was the message he shared with students. Doing the right thing is not always easy Penton noted, “Sometimes you will have to stand your ground and you will have to stand it alone.” Penton’s decision to become the best football player he could be became a challenge when faced with choices that left him alone while his friends chose to engage in activities that would have been detrimental to Penton’s football career. Instead he stayed true to his goal, kept his commitment and stood his ground to do the right thing in spite of peer pressure.
Keeping that commitment led Penton to Ohio State University where in 2002, his team won the College Football National Championship. Penton is a graduate of Ohio State University and played 5 years of football for the Buckeyes. He was a member of three Big Ten championship teams, a member of the National Championship team, and a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
In his senior year, Penton received the prestigious Wuerffel Trophy, also known as the “Humanitarian Heisman.” The trophy is a national award that recognizes the one college football player in the entire country who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
After graduating from OSU, Joel turned down an opportunity to play in the NFL to begin a career in full-time speaking. Penton has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s leading youth motivational speakers, and has shared his school assembly programs with more than 300,000 students nationwide.