By Pedro Segundo
“It’s very easy to work hard when you’ve got someone pushing you,” said Kemmi Pettway.
From a very early age, Kemmi has been pushed: pushed by life, pushed by his coaches, but most importantly, pushed by his mother.
His mother is the person who always saw something special in him, the person who would push him to be better than the rest and the person who would motivate him at the hardest of times.
From a very early age, Kemmi saw struggles in life, and everything he has experienced and gone through is what defined his character and the person he is today.
Kemmi, 18 and a senior at Garinger, remembers when his mother took him to work with her. He remembers when he had to spend eight hours waiting in the booths while his mother worked in a fast food restaurant.
His mother bought him the first football he ever owned.
“She always pushed me to be better than the rest, not just average,” Kemmi recalled recently. Even when things were not looking good for him, at times when he felt like giving up, he never did because his mother motivated to keep going, to keep trying and not give up.
That perseverance has finally paid off. Earlier this year, Kemmi was accepted to UNC Chapel Hill, where he will play football and major in business. The Charlotte Observer featured his successes in a Sunday article in February, explaining how a recruiter visited Garinger to sign him on.
Being recognized on the field – and in the media – were two of Kemmi’s long term goals.
Education, however, always comes first.
“School is my priority; football was just a way for me to get into college without having to worry my mom about college loans,” he said.
His mother is still paying her college loans to this day.
To put it simple, his mother is his role model because she pushed him to be what he is today. Now that he is off to Carolina, his motto is “Work hard or stay home.”