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Elvis Akpla
[2007]

School: Lincoln

Sports Played: Football, Basketball, Track and Field

High School Honors: 2-year Football letterman. 1st Team All-PIL and 2nd Team All-State as a Senior; 2nd Team All-PIL as a Junior. PIL Championship Team as a Senior. 3-year Basketball letterman. 2nd Team All-PIL as a Junior and Senior. 3-year Track & Field letterman. PIL and State Champion in Long Jump and Triple Jump as a Senior.

Post High School Career: U of O, 2-year letterman in Football (wide receiver) and Track & Field (sprinter). Montana State University, 2-year Football Letterman; 1st Team All-Big Sky receiver and 2nd Team All-American as a Senior. Degree in Cellular Biology and Neuroscience. Played for the Philadelphia Eagles, 1 year; British Columbia Lions, 1 year in the Canadian Football League. Currently Head Football Coach at Lakeridge High School, Assistant Coach in Basketball and Track & Field.

Commentary:

As I think about the impact High School Athletics had on me, there are so many emotions and memories to choose from. But one that strikes a chord in my heart didn't occur in high school. I think about Thursday, August 9th 2012 @ 7:20 pm. Standing in the tunnel with my teammates, nervously waiting for what was to be my first ever game with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After a difficult Training Camp (the hardest thing I'd ever been through as an athlete), having the chance to play against Pittsburgh Steelers was a dream of a lifetime. As we awaited the Eagles run-out, my anxiety and nervousness began to expand. I could feel it growing into every fiber of my being. Suddenly, I heard a voice ask me a question. "Are you ready young pup"? I looked to my left, and there stood Desean Jackson, one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the Eagles organization. I responded "of course I am!" (with false bravado).

A few moments later, we all started our run out of the tunnel. As soon as I emerged from the dark and the smoke, I was stunned by 70,000 flashing bulbs from the phones and cameras of the Philadelphia Faithful. At that moment, I felt an immeasurable and indescribable amount of happiness. And the only thought that went through my head was "Man, I wish all my Lincoln brothers were here right now, running right next to me, so they can feel how I feel right now!!"

See, high school athletics meant more to me than most. My mother and I lived on SE Powell by the Aladdin Theater, then moved to Vancouver & Alberta, three blocks away from Jefferson High School my Junior year. We had absolutely nothing but a poorly put together roof over our heads. I know that if it weren't my numerous teammates, their families, and the opportunities I was given to play high school sports, I would have never been able to accomplish 10% of what I've been blessed to be able to do in my young life.

I know that my experiences were so overwhelmingly positive, that it is why to this day, I feel a sense of duty to hand help athletes across the state accomplish their dreams and help them propel their lives in a positive trajectory. I want to thank the PIL for considering me for such a prestigious honor, and I hope that I can inspire more young men and women to aspire to greater heights.

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