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The Voice of the Black Community

Sports

Succeeding in silence
Deaf St. Aug’s football player earns degree
 
Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014 9:07 am
by Shelley Willingham-Hinton

RALEIGH – College campuses all over the country are buzzing with excitement and celebration as graduates walk across commencement stages this month. 

PHOTO/ST. AUGUSTINE'S UNIVERSITY
St. Augustine's footbal player Javarous Faulk and Interim President Everett B. Ward shake hands as Faulk receives his diploma.

Proud parents and loved ones will cheer as they hear their graduates’ names called from the stage. Every motivational word spoken will resonate. Yet, St. Augustine’s football All-American Javarous Faulk celebrated his accomplishments in silence.

At the age of three, Faulk’s mother noticed that her son may have been losing his hearing. Today, Faulk is only able to hear sounds and tones through a hearing aid. 

Faulk did not let his hearing impairment stop him from obtaining a college degree.  On May 4, he earned his bachelor’s degree in human performance and wellness.

“I admire Javarous’ tenacity to overcome the obstacle of being hearing impaired,” said Derrick Sauls, department chair of SAU’s Department of Physical Education, Exercise Science and Athletic Training.  “I have watched him continually meet challenges in the classroom, yet he never gave up on himself.”

Not only did Faulk not let his impairment stop him from earning his degree, it did not hinder him on the football field, where he played defensive end. 

“Faulk was one of my better players,” said Tremayne Henry, the Falcons’ defensive coordinator.  “He would always be in the office watching game film.  He would do whatever he needed to do to perform better on the field.”

Henry shared how he and Faulk communicated each game.  

“We had developed various hand signals I would give him from the sidelines,” Henry said.  “After each play, he would look at me and I would give him thumbs-up or thumbs-down. He always wanted to be reassured that he was performing well.”

Faulk’s performance extended to the classroom, with his degree providing proof of his academic achievement.

“When he walked across the stage at commencement, I felt as if he was one of my own children,” Henry said.  “After the ceremony, I told him how proud I was of him and that I loved him.”

Faulk, a native of Macon, Ga., tied the school’s single-season sack record in 2012 with 13.  Other accolades included Black College Sports Page All-America third team; Don Hansen All-Super Region One third team and the all-CIAA first team. He was also a nominee for the Gene Upshaw Award which goes to the NCAA Division II lineman of the year. 

Entering the 2013 season, he was named to the USA College Football Division II Pre-Season All-America Second Team. 

What inspires Faulk to succeed?

“Naysayers, my family and people that look up to me,” wrote Faulk. “Graduating from college was really exciting for me. There was a sense of relief at being done with countless assignments and a sense of accomplishment in earning my degree.”

Faulk has big plans for his future.

“I want to continue my education,” he wrote.  “I want other hearing impaired individuals to know that whatever I accomplish that they can do it too.”  

 

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