Dajuan Greene caught two touchdowns. His team won the state title after going 0-4 at the beginning of the season. Eastern scored 52 points to beat Sidwell Friends 52-34. Dajuan, a senior and wide receiver, won the MVP trophy.
But then something even more remarkable happened: He gave it away.
To his mom.
“I wanted to share it with the person who I love the most,” he said.
Shakita Greene didn’t realize it at first.
“I was very excited about the game and then I saw him looking around and I realized he was looking for me!” she said.
Then he found her. “He came up to me and said, ‘Mom, you’re the real MVP.’ I almost started crying.”
It’s typical of a young man known just as much for his athletic prowess as for his generous personality. When asked about the Ramblers’ success, he quickly points out that it was a true team effort.
“It wasn’t the individual thing,” Dajuan said. “Our team is a brotherhood. If one of us fail, we all fail. If one of us wins, we all win. We are one big family.”
And the fans: “They give us the praise that we needed to fight so hard and get here. Without them, none of this would be possible.”
His coach, Jason Strickland, says that Dajuan has been an important presence on the team and in the school. “He’s a driven young man who has been a role model since the re-launch of Eastern,” Coach Strickland said.
On the field, Dajuan is a three-sport powerhouse athlete (football wide receiver, basketball point guard, baseball short stop) who will also be starting track in his final year. Off the field, Dajuan is currently applying for college. He’d love to continue athletics in college but his main focus will be medicine.
“It would be great to keep playing sports, but getting my education comes first,” he said.
Dajuan has always talked about being a pediatrician, according to Mrs. Greene. He has taken Emergency Medical Technician training and belongs to the Health and Medical Sciences Academy at Eastern.
His interest in helping people started young. He would look after his littlest relatives, watching out for their safety.
“I would make sure my ‘little sisters’ were okay, so that I could see them grow. I want to see happiness in their eyes,” said Dajuan. “I think I can do that for a whole world of children, by making sure they have what they need to be healthy.”
His mother gently reminded him that a career in medicine requires a lot more school—but Dajuan embraces it.
“My hope is that he can continue his education and play sports,” said Mrs. Greene. “I hope he can enjoy something I didn’t do—go to college, and experience something different.”
They both agree that Eastern has prepared him well for whatever lies ahead.
“Eastern has given me the skills and resources that prepare me for the real world. It’s given me the tools I need to be independent,” said Dajuan.
Teachers like Mr. Rucker, Coach Strickland, Ms. Olaiya, and Mr. Kakulu helped him realize, “that sometimes you shouldn’t take the easy way, and that not everything will be handed to you,” he said.
The Class of 2015 will be the first graduating class since Eastern re-launched in 2011. The students and families are incredibly close-knit, from the football field to the halls of the historic school. Dajuan himself felt this when he was in fact on a hard road.
“When I was having some family issues, my best friends Roy, Juwan, and Christian, were very positive and supportive. They told me not to let anything discourage me,” he said.
He’s seen Eastern grow. From a small school to a bigger one. From a struggling football program to State champions. But something has never changed: “Everyone cares about one another here. We rely on each other. If you’re in need, someone will help you. If anyone wonders if they should come here, I’d say ‘It’s gonna feel just like home. You’ll fit right in.’”