This week’s DCW MVP is a senior at Wise High School in Upper Marlboro who finds himself working just as hard during a football game’s four quarters as the quarters school calendars are divided into.
Isaac Ukwu is a lineman for the Wise Pumas. He already stands out for being 6’3” tall and 215 pounds but his academic record is just as impressive.
“When you’re tired in football you can’t stop playing you have to keep going all four quarters; it’s just like four quarters in high school,” said Ukwu. “Sometimes you don’t want to do homework you don’t want to stay up late and work but if you can power through for football you can power through for anything.”
Ukwu said motivation comes from watching his parents and their struggle to work hard for his family since moving here from Nigeria.
“To raise 5 kids and give us good lives and put food on the table it just motivates me everyday just seeing how strong and how hard they work,” said Ukwu.
It’s paid off with high ACT and SAT scores which have a handful of Ivy League schools like Yale, Columbia, Penn and Dartmouth interested in having Ukwu on their football teams next fall. Ukwu said he’s also considering Towson and James Madison University.
According to coaches, Ukwu work ethic has inspired some teammates to ask for his help improving their grades. Ukwu said it takes dedication.
“Learning how to put down your phone, turning off the TV and focusing,” said Ukwu. “If you just give up 2 hours out of your day for homework and focus without touching your phone you’ll be successful.”
Wise Athletic Director Jason Gordon said he’s seen Ukwu show that focus even when studying the playbook.
“He knows his assignments backwards and forwards and in Japanese because he’s that meticulous in his study,” said Gordon. “The kid is just remarkable.”