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Young athletes get pep talk from former NFL star

By Kianga Kelley
Published On: Mar 29 2013 11:46:38 PM CDT
NEW BERN -

 A local nonprofit organization wants to get young athletes to focus more on their education.

The Kingdom Response Team is new to New Bern and they are hoping to get that message across to some young athletes with the help a local athlete who played in the NFL for nine years.

On Friday, George Koonce met with members of the New Bern High School Football outside the Stanley White Recreation Center in New Bern. The former linebacker shared his story of overcoming bad grades at West Craven High School, that would have prevented his chances of going to college if it weren't for his mother .

"She refinanced her house to give me a chance to get a college education,” said Koonce.

Koonce told News Channel 12, he went from a 2.3 GPA in high school to scoring a 3.9 GPA while obtaining his PHD last year. Koonce attended junior college at Chowan before transferring to ECU in the early 90s.

“The thing was I wasn't focused on in high school; but when I went to get my masters, get my undergrad, my PHD, that light switch came on and I grinded,” said Koonce.

Victor Dove, the founder of the organization said his dream was to create the non-profit organization to help his community.

“If a child has an athletic ability that if they put on top of their academic ability, that will provide them with a vehicle to go to school and not go into a debt,” said Dove. If possible, I wanted to do all I could to help that come to pass.”

Dove said they are trying to help through football too. His organization will help student-athletes put together recruiting videos to send to colleges in hopes of increasing their chances of continuing their education.

To find out how you can help visit: kingdomresponse.org