Not enough time to tell everyone about the great character Cecil Whiteside has shown. The Newport Harbor senior, one of the top football players in Orange County, dealt with the tragedy of living without a father. When he was 5, his father, Martin Hammonds, was murdered. He was later taken in by Craig Brown, and even later the Newport Beach community embraced Whiteside.
The story doesn't end when he throws his graduation cap in the air next month. It continues at UC Berkeley, where he'll play football.
There were more stories to tell, most not as dramatic as Whiteside's, but intriguing nonetheless. There's one that's simple and cute, yet impressive.
When Elizabeth Eddy was 11, she played tackle football with the boys. She wasn't a backup or some sort of novelty act. She was the star running back. The majority of people who saw her play sensed something very special in her future.
Now the Newport Harbor senior is headed to USC on a full-ride scholarship to play soccer. She's one of the top players in the nation and a member of the U.S. women's under-20 team.
Yes, everyone has a story to tell. And, maybe you've heard those before. But ever heard of John Vallely and what he's been through?
He wasn't the student, but the teacher before the athletes who were honored.
Vallely, a former CdM and OCC basketball star who went on to win two national titles at UCLA, spoke to the athletes and the rest of the audience. He's good at speaking, as he's been used as a motivational voice for company workers. His wife, Karen, says he really enjoys speaking to youth.
The 61-year-old, who lives in Newport Beach, talked about John Wooden's Pyramid of Success and how it was applied and needed in his life.