The passion Wayne Clevert exhibits on the basketball court is one he also has for academics at Richard Bland College of William & Mary.
Unlike his love for basketball, though, Clevert's motivation to learn was not immediate and developed throughout his teenage years.
"I was a passive follower," Clevert recalled his time at Henrico County's Mills E. Godwin High School. "I did not reach outside my comfort zone and was not focused on my future."
Clevert says he grew up struggling with his confidence and finding his career path, but his life changed when he joined the Greater Richmond YMCA Leaders' Club, a volunteer program that trains young adults with character building and leadership skills.
Through the Leaders' Club, Clevert embraced the importance of academics. It prompted him to enroll in classes at a local community college and then transfer to RBC after being recruited to play on the Statesmen basketball team. He has flourished academically, earning Athletic Director's Academic Excellence List recognition every semester. In the fall semester he earned Dean's List honors for the first time.
Clevert's academic success also improved his self-esteem. It gave him the confidence to recover from an ACL injury that limited his playing time as a freshman. As a team captain this season he is flourishing on the court as one of the team's most reliable players and leading scorers.
"I have embraced my leadership role and the ability to become a role model for my teammates," Clevert said. "I am grateful for the opportunities Richard Bland has provided me."
Clevert is currently a staff member with the YMCA Leaders' Club and would like to become a teen director. "I'd like to help others better their lives and prepare for successful futures," he said.
Clevert plans to pursue a business administration degree with a minor in child development, and is considering transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University, James Madison or Greensboro College. He would like to continue playing college basketball if given the opportunity, but his end goal is off-the-court.
"I want to use all of my academic and athletic experiences at Richard Bland to give back to the community and serve others," Clevert said.