CHARLOTTESVILLE — Jarett Lewis finished his high school football career with a school record-breaking 5,400 total passing yards. According to Eastern Hancock coaches, Lewis is the school’s greatest passer of all time.
Yet, it’s not his athletic prowess but his devotion to hard work, faith and community that gives Lewis a champion’s work ethic, said Junior Aumavae, president of Hancock County’s Elite Athletic Trend.
The Eastern Hancock senior was awarded the $5,000 EAT scholarship this month for his athletics success and selfless service to his community, Aumavae said. During his final year on the field, Lewis put in several hours of extra training with the professional mentors at EAT.
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Lewis is planning to attend Ball State University next year to study telecommunications. He does not plan on playing college ball.
But the EAT scholarship isn’t just about benefiting future professional athletes, Aumavae said. It’s about rewarding the efforts of students who have a true desire to work harder than everyone else.
Aumavae, a former defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets, is the founder of the nonprofit organization. EAT mentors young athletes in Hancock County to help them develop their skill and character.
EAT is devoted to setting the trend of what makes a well-rounded athlete, which means excelling in athletics, academics, community outreach and being a positive person in your everyday life, he said.
In May, EAT conducted a skills camp at Greenfield-Central High School, where former NFL players and coaches met with the students to help them perfect their technique.
Visitors to assist with EAT’s programs include Chet Fuhrman, who worked for 15 years as a strength and conditioning coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Michael Haynes, a defensive end who was a first-round draft pick with the Chicago Bears.
EAT also conducts off-season conditioning and postseason recovery workout programs, Aumavae said. They have mentored over 250 students from around the county this year.
Each year EAT gives one, $5,000 scholarship a year to a college-bound senior athlete. Applicants must participate in EAT’s programs, attain a 3.0 GPA or higher and submit an essay to be considered for the award.
Lewis attended every event the organization offered, from the preseason summer conditioning to their athletic recovery program. Everyone from the coaching staff to the board members of the nonprofit could see he was a cut above the rest.
“Jarett was our typical kid we’re looking for who represents EAT,” Aumavae said. “He made everyone better, not with his words, but with his actions.”
“He was your typical go-to-work type of kid, no complaining,” he added.
Lewis said he is grateful for the experiences the nonprofit gave to him.
“They were full of knowledge and willing to help,” Lewis said. “All the stuff they put us through is things they’ve done as players, whether that was college or NFL … They really taught us a lot over the season.”
Lewis praised his coach, Jim O’Hara, for giving him the guidance he needed to succeed during his high school years.
“He taught me everything from quarterbacking to being a person,” Lewis said. “I give credit to him for a lot of my accomplishments in high school.”
Lewis is one of the most fun and coachable students he’s ever worked with, O’Hara said. His easygoing character led to him having a great relationship with each of his teammates.
Lewis is a positive presence on the team, both as a team leader and a power player, he added.
“He had a stellar career, and he’s always got a smile on his face,” O’Hara said. “He’s a tremendous competitor. He never misses a day, and he’s always there. That’s what makes him stand out.”
Off the football field, Lewis is involved in the National Honors Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is an active member of Park Chapel Christian Church, having went with his youth group on a mission trip to Tennessee earlier this year.
Lewis strives to get involved with community service to avoid living a selfish life, he said. That’s what being an elite athlete is about.
“I think that’s one way to make yourself happy,” Lewis said. “Try to always look for things that help others first.”