FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Surrounded by teachers, Derrick Henry stood in the CoolSprings Galleria Mall on Friday night and recalled some of the teachers who played an important role in his life.
From his days in elementary school to his years at Yulee High in Florida, and all the way up to his time at the University of Alabama, Henry said he was blessed to have great teachers.
"They play an important part in the life of kids, and especially in my life," Henry said. "So I am very thankful."
Henry showed his thanks by surprising teachers from the Metro Nashville School District with a back-to-school shopping spree on Friday night.
Several teachers had a major impact on Henry's life both on and off the field. He believes it is very important to give back to educators for taking the responsibility of positively impacting our youth's future.
Henry teamed up with Academy Sports + Outdoors to get local Nashville children prepared for the upcoming school year with a back-to-school shopping spree at Academy in Mt. Juliet last month. On Friday, he teamed up with JCPenney for a shopping spree for teachers.
"I am just honored," said Teara Robinson, who teaches a college program called Avid at Antioch Middle School. "As teachers we put so much time and energy and dedication into just making sure the children learn and get what they need, so to have (Henry) be here to give us this shopping spree, I am elated.
"I had no idea he was going to be here, so that was the cherry on top. And just to hear his story about how teachers made an impact in his life, it is awesome."
Each teacher received $300 in gift cards to purchase essentials for the upcoming school year.
Henry said teachers had a major impact on his life both on and off the field.
"Teachers are very special," Henry said. "I know when I was in school, any time I was struggling my teachers tried to spend extra time with me to make sure I got what they were teaching. And when I was getting ready for college, making sure I was prepped for the SAT and ACT. I still talk to the teachers from high school to this day, so they are very special. … I am happy to be a part of this. It is always a blessing to be a blessing."