Chester Hightower knows that grand aspirations must start with perspective.
That was partially the premise behind his free football camp at Thomas County Central on Sunday.
Hightower is a 2007 Central graduate that completed a track scholarship at Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) last spring.
Hightower has since returned to Thomasville, and, with the assistance of Johnny Cooksey, established the Chasing A Dream Foundation to “assist and motivate the youth in the community to make wise decisions for their future.”
“Our focal point is education,” Hightower told the Times-Enterprise. “We focus on teaching kids rather than letting them loose and having fun – in the classroom or on the field.
“We want to make sure they understand that football is a privilege, and that it comes after classwork.”
That’s why Hightower brought Pop Warner football back to Thomasville.
Pop Warner, one of the nation’s oldest reiterational sports leagues, operates under the ‘education first’ premise, and has endured a gaping absence in the Rose City.
Hightower and Cooksey are launching their minted team, the Thomas County Tigers, for competition this fall.
Hightower and Cooksey hope to fill the void left by the Thomasville Traveling All-Stars, which dwindled in 2006.
“He and I had the same desire and dreams to form a team like this,” Cooksey, also a former Central running back, said.
The two were introduced by the since departed Ira Flowers, a civil rights legend from Thomasville.
“It’s been an ongoing process ever since,” Cooksey said.
The Tigers will play against the likes of the Lee County Warriors and Moultrie Hawks among others.
And that’s where Sunday’s camp came in.
Both teams sent roughly ten players apiece, and practiced with the approximate 60 from Thomas County.
“It turned out great,” Cooksey said. “We were excited about the amount of kids who showed up on a Sunday with church and everything.”