News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 19, 2011

FLASHPOINT: Doing right things will get you going in positive direction

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — My name is Zacchary Lewis and I just graduated from Terre Haute South this past June. I played football there and wrestled for a few years.

Something was brought to my attention not too long ago about myself and four other young men who, just like me. Graduated from THS and played football.

The five of us together are young black males who are attending college in order to better our lives entirely. A lot of attention is focused on black males who don’t succeed and things like that but not enough is put on those who do.

Below I have written something I think will help bring light to this new positive journey we are taking this fall.

Almost five years ago, Mark Raetz was named head coach of Terre Haute South football and a new journey was beginning. He was installing a system that was going to prove to help a group of diverse young men succeed. Nate Hutchinson, Tre Stephens, Elijah Beard, Hodari Brown and me, Zacchary Lewis, are five young African-American men who bought into the system and are taking the next step by attending a four-year college.

It would be easy to say that these young men made it to the next level because of Coach Raetz’s system, but it’s not that easy. They had it set in their minds they would go to college, not to play football but to get am education. An education was always the ultimate goal but the football along the way taught valuable life lessons that did help quite a bit. Lessons such as accountability, working hard to attain your goals and integrity are the big ones. They learned if you have to be somewhere at a certain time, then you need to be there because that’s your personal responsibility.

They also learned that doing the right things when somebody is looking takes a lot, but doing the right things when nobody is looking takes a lot more. These lessons learned are the keys to any young man’s success. The tools were placed in front of them and they used them to their full advantage.

Terre Haute South football provided a blueprint for these young men to follow. They enjoyed the structure and the hard work you had to do in order to prove yourself. Every day was a new chance and every day you have to work at what you do. Not only did the five take those things and use them on the field but they also used then in the classroom. If they had to be to class at 9:26 then they were there on time because that’s accountability and that’s doing the right thing.

Four out of the five young men graduated with an Academic or Technical Honors Diploma. Elijah Beard will be attending Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Tre Stephens will be attending Earlham College and playing football. Nate Hutchinson will be attending Indiana University. Hodari Brown and Zacchary Lewis will be attending Indiana State University, where Zacchary will be playing football.

I don’t know if this is good writing or not, but it’s something I care deeply about and I want people to have more notice about it. I also think it can help other young men succeed by them seeing that doing the right things will get you far.

— Zacchary Lewis

Terre Haute