A Homewood Middle School football coach and teacher recently found himself in the national spotlight as his efforts to make an impact on local youth were highlighted by the New York Times (NYT).
Steve Sills, “an evangelist for the gospel of encouragement, which he’s been preaching for 13 years at this economically and demographically diverse middle school in suburban Birmingham,” works hard to teach the middle school students he works with the importance of giving it your all.
“Don’t matter if you are big or small, if you are fast or slow. If you give us the very best of you, together we can do great things,” Sills told the Homewood Patriots football team during a recent Monday night game according to the NYT.
Sills, who envisioned a career in football after receiving a scholarship to play at Tennessee Tech and later played in the indoor Arena Football League, didn’t follow his expected life path. Instead he found himself teaching and coaching at Homewood Middle School. There, he teaches his students career and character where he endeavors to pass along his “look good, feel good, do good” mantra.
But Sills takes his work beyond the classroom. Nine years ago, the educator founded the Homewood Trendsetters, a school club that according to the NYT, “combines sharp dressing with dozens of service projects, like feeding the homeless at local shelters or cheering on special needs students at athletic events. It now numbers more than 300, including more than 100 girls, and has logged thousands of volunteer hours and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the community.”
When they NYT asked him to reduce his teaching philosophy to its core, he paraphrased the poet Maya Angelou: “These kids will forget what I said and did, but I hope they never forget how I made them feel.”