The Jacksonville Jaguars have shared the incredible journeys of two inspiring individuals awarded the 2019 LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant.
The grant, which was created to provide development pathways for underprivileged students in the UK American Football community, was awarded to Maysie Cogdell and Bismark Yeboah after they demonstrated overcoming enormous personal adversities to excel in school and at sport.
Bismark, 20, was born in Ghana and first moved to Europe at the age of 10, living with his father in Italy. Two years ago, he moved to the UK to live with family in Croydon and study at John Ruskin’s College. What stood out to the judges was Bismark’s hard work ethic as he explained how alongside achieving strong results in his studies, he also worked throughout the night in order to help provide for his family. Furthermore, despite the long and hard hours, Bismark still found time to grow his passion for American Football. Training and working hard to earn a spot with the London Warriors.
“I then moved to the UK two years ago and my work life and college life was really hard. Woking throughout the night to support my family while also studying in the day to ensure I keep learning was really hard” said Bismark.
Maysie Cogdell, 18 years, battled through several traumatic experiences throughout her childhood. At the age of 10 she experienced the devastating loss of her Mum to cancer. Just six years later in December 2017, she went through a second family tragedy as her older brother, Ryan suddenly passed away. As a result of her mum’s passing Maysie really struggled through the first four years of secondary school. However, following her brother’s death she took inspiration from him to turn things around using sport and JagTag (The Jacksonville Jaguars American Football grassroots programme) as a way to release her problems and refocus on what was important.
“My brother said if you want to get far in life you have to try hard from the beginning, so I started working harder, studying harder to get the grades that I wanted, and I did” said Maysie.
Paul Nixon, CEO of LGT Vestra US, the official UK founding Partner of Jacksonville Jaguars said: “It is stories like Bismark and Maysie’s that is what the LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant is all about – being able to reward individuals who demonstrate a real commitment to the community around them. The opportunity to give something back to the American football community within the UK and have a tangible impact on the winning candidates is a true privilege.”
Hussain Naqi, senior vice president of international development of the Jacksonville Jaguars, said: “The LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant is a fantastic way to give back to our Jaguars community in the UK. We had so many powerful applicants this year with some truly inspiring stories to tell but Bismark really blew us away with his extraordinary work ethic that none of us could quite believe. We wish him the best of luck and the University of East London are getting one heck of an American Football player!”
To be eligible for the grant, applicants must have participated in the Jacksonville Jaguars, JagTag programme or played in American Football in the UK. To find out more about the LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant, visit www.Jaguars.co.uk
Introducing the 2019 LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant recipients: Bismark Yeboah and Maysie CogdellBoth have overcome so much in their lives. Their desire & commitment to American football, sport and education astonished the judgesNow is your chance to hear their stories #NFLUK #DUUUVAL
Posted by Jaguars UK on Wednesday, October 2, 2019