The Oakland Athletic League (OAL) has a history of grooming phenomenal athletes such as NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton, MLB Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, Track & Field Olympian Jim Hines and countless others. The Student Program for Academic & Athletic Transitioning (SPAAT) hosted its 5th Annual ESPY Awards on June 10 to celebrate the academic and athletic achievements of Oakland’s student-athletes.
Held inside the California Ballroom in Downtown Oakland, more than 200 guest grooved to the the sounds of the Minor F Jazz Quartet on the red carpet as students and their family members were greeted by Montera Middle School Cheerleaders.
Don Henry Noble, a McClymonds graduate of 1966 said as he observed the night unfold. “I wish we had something like this in the 60’s.This is a beautiful thing,” he said. “It’s the best thing Oakland Public Schools has and it’s only going to grow.”
Former member of “Digital Underground” and CEO of Marketing Kings Tyranny Allen and OUSD Communications Director John Sasaki hosted the Oakland ESPY Awards and special Blue Shield of California’s Black Employee Network partnered with SPAAT to sponsor $18,000 in academic scholarships
The OAL All-Academic team, comprised of 8 student-athletes who displayed the highest level of commitment to academics, were presented with $1,000 scholarships. High school student athletes of the Year Jada Delaney (Skyline) and Antonio Faeteetee (Fremont) were awarded $5,000 scholarships. In addition, Middle School Student Athletes of the Year Kevion Irvin (Claremont) and Kamaya Jackson (Edna Brewer) were each awarded $500 scholarships, thanks to NFL Executive and former OAL Athlete Kevin Winston.
“We strive to teach our students that you must work as hard in the classroom, as you do in your field of play and each year we see Oakland student athletes raise the bar,” said Harold Pearson, Executive Director of SPAAT. “Thanks to Blue Shield of California, the Oakland Promise and NFL Executive Kevin Winston, we were able to take it the next level and provide students with the financial assistance needed for them to pursue their higher education dreams.”
Kevin Parker, a Skyline graduate who has served as the Director of Player Development for more than 16 years at UC Berkeley was awarded the OAL Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. He shared a touching story about how important it is to ask for help. MLB Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson was also honored.
In memory of SPAAT student Darryl Aikens, who passed away in 2017 from cancer just weeks year after graduating from McClymonds High School, SPAAT Partnered with the Oakland Promise to present the first annual Darryl Aikens Memorial Scholarship. The $1000 awarded to Jamiana Akinjo, a fellow McClymonds student-athlete who is headed to UCLA in the fall.
“I am so proud of SPAAT’s ongoing efforts to provide Oakland students with the support they need to win on the court, on the field, and in the classroom.” said Gary Payton. “As a former OAL student athlete, I know the work these students put in to balance their academics and athletics. Like many of these students, my family could not afford to pay for my college education but my athletic abilities made room for me to attend Oregon State University, which led to my 13-year career in the NBA. Without the grades, none of it would have been possible.”
Payton also announced he would match the $5,000 scholarships for the Student Athletes of the Year at the 2019 Oakland ESPY Awards.
Here’s a full list of the 2018 Oakland ESPY Awards honorees:
OAL Middle School Female Student Athlete of the Year: Kamaya Jackson, Edna Brewer Middle School, 4.0GPA, (Flag Football, Basketball, & Track & Field)
OAL Middle School Male Student Athlete of the Year: Kevion Irvin, Claremont Middle School, 4.0GPA, (Flag Football, Basketball, Track & Field)
OAL Middle School Male Coach of the Year: Godffrey David Brown, Greenleaf Elementary School, (Girls Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field)
OAL Middle School Female Coach of the Year: Corin Yamasaki & Sarah Ben-Israel, Edna Brewer Middle School, (Flag Football, Basketball, Track & Field)
OAL Male High School Coach of the Year: Sean Kohles, Skyline
OAL Female High School Coach of the Year: Yesenia Mendez, CCPA
OAL Female High School Student Athlete of the Year: Jada Delaney, Oakland Tech, 4.0 gpa. She is 4-time OAL Golf Champion will attend Arizona State University in FALL 2018 as an Engineering Major.
OAL Male High School Student Athlete of the Year: Antonio Faaeteete, Fremont High School, 3.0 GPA. He had over 2600 rushing yards during the football season and is headed to Rice University in the Fall.
OAL Alumni Outstanding Achievement: Kevin Parker and Rickey Henderson
OAL Most Valuable Players (students recognized for their leadership and sportsmanship in their perspective sports)
- Antonio Fateetee, Fremont HS, Football; Charles Alberty, McClymonds HS, Football; Khirah McCoy, Oakland HS, Girls Basketball; Brooklin Sharpe, Oakland Tech HS, Boys Basketball; Tupou Paua, Skyline HS; Girls Basketball; Adam Crampton, Oakland Tech HS, Baseball; Jamie Burgasser, Oakland Tech HS, Softball; Josue Pereyra, Kipp King, Boys Volleyball; Juan Lopez, LPS, Boys Soccer;Jayden Kael, Skyline HS, Girls Soccer.
OAL All-Academic Team (students who displayed the highest level of commitment to academics)
- Tupou Paua, Skyline HS, 4.0 GPA (Girls Volleyball); Victor Tolento Ventura, CCPA, 3.75 GPA (Boys Soccer); Kendall Prime, Oakland Tech HS, 4.71 GPA(Girls Soccer); Albert Mitchell, McClymonds HS, 3.85 GPA (Football/Track & Field); Yani Singer, Oakland Tech HS, 4.67 GPA (Track & Field); Henry Larkin, Oakland Tech HS, 3.2 GPA (Track & Field); Neisha Moore (Valedictorian),McClymonds HS, 4.17 GPA (Girls Volleyball); Donald Liu (Valedictorian), Skyline, 4.8 GPA (Track &Field)
More can be found from the event on SPAAT’s Facebook page.