Lessons I Learned from a Middle School Boy

Written by: Dr. Steve Whitaker, Head of School


Every now and then a story of a TFA student comes across my desk that causes me to pause and immediately thank God for allowing me the privilege of leading such a great school. It reminds me once again that TFA is an extraordinary place where lives are changed, leaders are formed, and God is honored. The story of Harrison Davis is one of those stories.

Two-and-a-half years ago, then 4th grader, Harrison Davis suffered a stroke that left him with some physical challenges that made the life of a young boy a lot more difficult. The stroke caused Harrison to suffer from regular seizures and migraine headaches. As a result, this limited the extent in which Harrison is able to participate in athletics, in particular football. This could have been a devastating blow for any boy, but Harrison wasn’t going to let that diagnosis be the end of his story. Though it hasn’t always been easy, Harrison’s family became committed to using this trial and hardship as a way to glorify God through Harrison’s life. Now, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story….

The Davis family eventually received permission for Harrison to play on the middle school football team, so long as he did not have to tackle or be tackled. That restriction left only one position as a possibility, kicker, which Harrison had never played. Like many times before, Harrison did not let it stop him, but instead immediately set to work practicing on a daily basis in his front yard. He practiced day in and day out, kicking field goals.

Last Thursday night, after many months of practice, Harrison’s perseverance and hard work paid off. After the team scored a touchdown, Harrison got the call from Coach Schultz that he would be kicking the extra point. As a nervous crowd and dad watched from the sidelines, Harrison kicked the ball in the air, straight between the uprights for his very first extra point in his football career. The crowd was ecstatic, as everyone knew this extra point was worth a lot more than just one point.

Harrison’s mom sums up the night well (the picture she references is below).

“So on October 2nd Harrison got sent in to kick an extra point. And guess what… he made it. The picture of Harrison and Coach Schultz really needs no caption. For a moment during that game, there was no stroke, there were no seizures, there was no medicine…there was simply a 12-year-old boy playing the game he loves…football…and adding a point to his team’s score!!!!!”












Thank you Harrison for teaching us to be persistent. When others didn’t see a way through the difficulties you did and you chased your dream.

Thank you for teaching us to be optimistic. Your belief that you could and would prevail gave your team a living example of what a positive mental attitude can produce.

Thank you for teaching us to be humble. You would have preferred to play a more active role in the team. However, you humbly embraced the assignment you were given.



Steve Whitaker