Education is key for Fokou’s Root 53 Foundation

Photo by Cody Benjamin

Education was always an important facet of his childhood, but even after three years in the National Football League, Moise Fokou is still striving to be a student as he helps others overcome their own educational journeys. 106-degree weather didn’t stop the veteran linebacker from hosting the kickoff of his Root 53 Foundation in Washington, D.C. on June 29, and as part of the event, which featured a culinary competition among local chefs and various celebrity guests; Fokou emphasized basic values that solidified his personal road to success–a hard work ethic and an undying desire to learn.

“I kind of took the long route to get where I am today,” Fokou said after arriving at the event’s upscale setting, D.C.’s Dirty Martini. “A lot of people don’t know that after high school, I went to a Division III college, where you don’t even think you’re going to make it into the league at that level. It was hard, because I didn’t have the grades to play at the higher level. I had the skills, but not the grades. So there is where education comes from. When I finally transferred to the University of Maryland, I made sure I got better grades so I could go out there and show my talent on the field.”

“Being at Maryland–it’s such a great institution, Maryland–I was able to become a student-athlete instead of an athletic student, making education a priority,” Fokou continued. “This past season, I got hurt toward the end of the year and was sidelined with an ankle injury. I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do, and ever since I got into the league, I always felt like I wanted to give back. Our saying in our family is ‘make sure when you’re blessed, you bless others.’ And when I had this downtime, it really put my plan in motion and allowed me to put this foundation together. Even to this day, I still strive to keep education in my life, and I just want to teach kids that education is important.”

“It’s OK to have the athletic aspect of it, but don’t ever forget the base, the ground, the root of education and it will take you a long way,” said Fokou, who also noted his plan to continue schooling following his NFL career. The 26-year-old, who has started 22 games for the Eagles in three seasons since joining the league as a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, had his thoughts reinforced by a number of fellow players in attendance, including Buccaneers wide receiver Arrelious Benn, Colts safety Joe Lefeged, and former Seahawks linebacker Adrian Moten. To officially open his foundation, which will host a kids football camp the following day, Fokou held a silent auction of NFL jerseys and autographs and judged prepared foods from local cooks along with TV chefs Candice Kumai and Jason Ellis.

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