HENDERSONVILLE - Pope John Paul II legend Golden Tate loves coming home to give back to the place that gave him so much.
Saturday marked the fourth annual Golden Tate Skills Camp and Scholarship Lunch that hosted more than 150 campers.
“This is where it all began for me it is the reason I am where I am in life,” Tate said. “This school took a chance on me and allowed me to be the best I could academically but also on the sports field. I take a lot of pride in this place and so for me it is a no brainer to come back, spend time with our youth and recruit some of these young athletes to come play at Pope John Paul and follow my footsteps to do great things academically and athletically.”
Tate, who was a three-sport athlete during his time with the Knights, currently plays for the New York Giants and is in his 10th year in the NFL.
“Growing up in Nashville, it was a blessing to attend St. Josephs Middle School and then Pope,” he continued. “I loved my four years here. It was challenging academically and when I got here it was our first year for the varsity football team so we had to build something great so it was just a special time to be here. I love this place.”
After graduating from JPII in 2007, Tate continued his career at prestigious Notre Dame, where he tallied 157 receptions for over 2,700 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Following his junior season that saw 93 receptions for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns, Tate won the Bilentikoff Award, which goes to the NCAA’s top wide receiver.
After that year, Tate announced his decision to turn pro for the 2010 NFL Draft, where he was selected in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks. He eventually won Super Bowl XLV with the Seahawks.
“I knew I wanted to play football or be a professional athlete but I never thought about the length of I’d have up to this point,” he said. “I’m super appreciative and blessed to be able to play this long. It’s something very hard to do but I just try to find a way every day and be thankful for what God has given me.”
Michelle Barber, Dean of Admissions and Advancement, helped orchestrate this event four years ago and says this event is one of the most looked forward to events on the calendar each and every year.
“We are so please to have Golden out again,” she said. “The really exciting thing about his connection through this program we are able to raise need base financial aid for our female and male student athletes. It’s been a game changer for us and allow us to promote our athletic program and bring in kids that reflect the characteristics that Golden reflects.
“We are looking for our student athletes that are good character, commitment to academics, faith life, making good decisions and we feel like Golden embodies all those characteristics. This year we will name six student athletes and are so excited to do so. We appreciate him and all that he has done in giving back to the institution he holds so dear.”
Winners of the 2019 Golden Tate Scholarships are:
Nicholas Herzer, Maddie Dyer, Camaya Keaton, Yusef Ibrahim, Eli Douglas, Fisher Donovan and Jack Dyer.