A few of you may have heard the name Cardale Jones recently. Sound familiar? Something to do with The Ohio State University and perhaps their football team?
Cardale is the third-string OSU quarterback who found himself suddenly thrust into the brightest spotlight he'd ever seen when he was called to lead his team through the Big 10 championship game, the Sugar Bowl playoff game, and then finally the first ever College Football Championship game after his fellow QBs were injured. It's been one of the biggest stories in sports since he seized that first opportunity and everyone started asking, "Who IS this guy?"
This guy is one of our kids. This fairy tale began years ago. Cardale started at Ginn as a freshman in Ginn Academy's inaugural year, 2007, and graduated in 2011. He played football for Coach Ginn at Glenville for all four of those years.
Cardale's story could be the story of any one of our boys. He just happens to be the one who throws the football the best at this point in time. Each and every one of our students at Ginn Academy is learning that they have a purpose in this world, that they are valuable, and that they are loved. It is our mission to teach our students that they all have the potential to do something great, whether that means that they are the very best nurse they can be, the most caring teacher, a hard working Marine, an award-winning engineer, or the most inspiring writer. Cardale is a shining example of all of the rest of his Ginn brotherhood.
|Cardale as a junior in 2009|
|End of year awards ceremony at Ginn Academy, 2009|
|2009, Glenville vs. St. Ignatius|
At Ginn, Cardale learned something that would prove to be invaluable when his number came up in November. Our creed (see right sidebar) states that our young men will "stay patient and poised to seize every opportunity for success." It seems as if there can be no better example of staying patient and poised and seizing opportunities for success than what we've witnessed from Cardale.
|2009, the entire student body of Ginn Academy|
|2009, Cardale ready to take the field with the Tarblooders in the state semi-final game|
|2009, Cardale with Coach Ginn|
|2009, Cardale was a junior|
Cardale returned to Cleveland after his first start in the Big Ten championship game in early December. The students and faculty were very excited to hear from him, and he was able to connect with his mentors as well.
|Cardale with mentors, Theo Washington and Reverend Larry Howard, December 2014|
|At Ginn Academy in December 2014|
|Cardale and Coach Ginn at Ginn Academy, December 2014|
The sports world waited with baited breath and a million opinions, and finally on January 15th, after spending time with his family and his trusted mentors, Cardale's decision to stay at Ohio State to finish his education was announced at a press conference at Ginn Academy.
Broadcast live on ESPN, there was much excitement over what he would do. The gym was packed with reporters from every media outlet and students, old friends, and even community members who just wanted to be there for the announcement. The general opinion around the country seemed to be that he should go for the money in the NFL, that his stock would never be higher.
Theo Washington, pictured below, is one of Cardale's mentors. Theo was the Glenville quarterback himself in 1964 and the two are very, very close. As the day went on, Cardale's family and friends let him know that whatever he decided, they would be there with him.
"When the time came and Cardale said that he would be staying in school, it was a burden taken off of my shoulders," Theo says. "People kept talking about money, but if they really listened to Cardale, they clearly got the definition and understanding of who he is and what he is about. He clearly stated to them that an education is for life."
|One of Cardale's mentors and former Glenville QB (1964), Theo Washington, with Cardale, January 15th|
|Coach Ginn was non-stop the morning of Cardale's announcement|
|Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO, Eric Gordon with Cardale|
|The entrance to the gym as everyone waited for Cardale to appear|
|Making his way toward the gym to announce his decision|
|Cardale and his daughter, Chloe|
|Cardale's mother, Florence Jones, proudly wears these shoes|
|Cardale's mother, Florence|
|Lisa Farmer-Cole, Assistant Superintendent CMSD; Lewis Burrell; and Hazel Parker, Ginn Academy Assistant to the Director, holding Chloe Jones, Cardale's daughter|
|Cardale with Ginn Academy math teacher, Mr. Albert Coreno and family|
|Cardale and his very proud family|
And so, Cardale is back at Ohio State and will graduate next fall. He returns with no guarantee of starting as quarterback. "I want to go back and compete for the spot," he said. "I don’t want anything given to me," says Jones.
Nothing has ever been given to Cardale Jones, except an opportunity. A sudden and unexpected opportunity to show the world what he is made of. He stayed patient and poised for years for that opportunity, and when the time came, he seized it like no one has ever seen before.