As he faced hardships and constantly moved around with his family, Skyline High School senior Damajai Stephens’ love of football kept him grounded.
He started playing the sport as a four-year-old and shined for Skyline as an outside linebacker.
“My favorite part about playing football is that it makes me feel like I can handle any adversity,” Stephens said. “When I step onto the field, nothing else matters.”
Stephens will be the first person in his immediate family to graduate from high school. He will attend East Central University in the fall to study criminal justice with a full-ride football scholarship. His professional goal is to push for racial equity in the city and help improve the lives of minority groups.
“I want to be able to make a difference in people’s lives as a judge in Dallas,” Stephens said. “Everyone on my team and my family is rooting for me to do great.”
Skyline counselor Marylin Dunlap remembers Stephens as dedicated, hardworking and focused, both as a student and as an athlete.
“Not only can his coaches depend on him to do the job, but he is one that his teachers can depend on,” Dunlap said.
Though he has faced adversity, the support of his immediate family and the bonds he created with his team at Skyline have helped him persevere.
“My coach and my teammates at Skyline, as well as my family, lifted me up and believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself,” Stephens said. “I’m not going to let them down.”