From the origin stories of his salsa dancing touchdown celebration to his passion for STEM education, New York Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl Champion Victor Cruz on Monday shared his story with students and faculty at VSU.
Participating in a three-way discussion with VSU President Makola M. Abdullah and Benjie E. Wimberly – New Jersey Assemblyman, VSU alumnus and Cruz’s high school football coach – Cruz relayed to the students what it takes to get to where he is and stay where he is.
Not wanting the youth to go through the academic struggles he faced, Cruz wanted to build a platform for children to experience the STEM-type hands-on learning at a young age. Cruz recalled how at the White House Science Fair, he saw children as young as 11 and 12 making “unbelievable projects.”
“When I saw that, I was like: this is what I need to be in the forefront of,” Cruz said. “I need to make sure that kids in the inner-cities understand that this is out there for them. They don’t even know that this exists. Through the Victor Cruz Foundation, The Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic became one of two pilot programs in the United States to receive the Sports and Science STEM Curriculum.
In addition, Cruz said: “We were able to build programs to provide these kids with the resources and teachers to build things. They’re building underwater submarines using legos and batteries and all-battery operated things that they built with their hands.”If I can get kids as excited about football as they are about building underwater submarines, then I’ve accomplished something.”