WASHINGTON, Pa. (Dec. 16, 2011)—San Francisco 49er wide receiver Braylon Edwards made a pledge in 2007 to help a select group of 100 eighth graders in the Cleveland Municipal School District fulfill their promise and go to college.
Today, Miriam Beavers is halfway through her freshman year at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), thanks to the support of Edwards’ Advance 100 program. A 2011 graduate of John Marshall High School on the west side of the city, Beavers knew she was destined for W&J as far back as tenth grade, learning about W&J at a college fair.
“I knew right away that it was the right environment for me, a small campus that I needed. At small schools, my teachers have been like family and that was what I was looking for. For me, college was always an option,” Beavers said,
A former Cleveland Brown, Edwards was the first solo donor to give $1 million to the city's students, establishing one of the most generous scholarship programs any athlete has ever spearheaded. He donated $10,000 in college tuition money to 100 Cleveland Municipal students who met certain academic and community service criteria in their high school careers. After an interview and application process, students were selected for the program.
“We have had to manage to keep our grades up, respect our parents, learn interviewing skills, help people in the community through a variety of service projects,” Beavers said. “This program has prepared us for life.”
Beavers is a member of the Black Student Union and hopes to be a resident assistant next year. She is majoring in environmental studies. Beavers remains involved in community service projects, including volunteering at local churches and working with Habitat for Humanity building houses. She said she is enjoying her time at W&J thus far.
ESPN is featuring a story about Edwards’ program on its Monday Night Countdown Show Dec. 19, immediately prior to the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the 49ers.