Alfonzo Whitehurst grew up on the mean streets of Syracuse, NY. Growing up he lost his mother at the age of 4-years-old. Never really knowing his father, Whitehurst grew up under the guidance of his grandmother. He shared his story with us this morning on First News with Keeler in the Morning.

Whitehurst is better known to many in the community as "Mr. Utica College." Whitehusrt first snagged headlines after he was featured in the iSpy section of the Utica Observer Dispatch raising his arms high walking across the stage at Graduation. Whitehurst was also featured in an article from Buffalo News. For him that was a proud moment, but that didn't stack up to what his true passion is.

College was a huge accomplishment for Whitehurst because there were little in his family to reach that summit. Whitehurst says, I was excited about doing something that has never been done in my family, being able to walk across the college stage. Half my family barely graduated high school. A big part of making it to this level he says was sports.

Being told by his coaches back in his Pop-Warner days that he was 'too big' didn't stop him from revisiting the sport later on in his journey. Whitehurst always wondered "How could you be too big for football?" After a long stint playing baseball, he finally had his time

you're not really sure if you're going to leave alive.

on the grid-iron during modified football at Corcaran High School in Syracuse. "I feel Iike I started playing football because in the streets in the city there's things that go on all the time where you want to get in a fight out there, [but] you're not really sure if you're going to leave alive." A coach once told him 'football is the only sport you could hit somewhere as hard as you can and not go to jail.' He then moved to Baldwinsville where he and his team won a Section III Championship. That was still not the biggest or proudest moment in his life.

His journey to Utica was not an easy one. Growing up in a rough area of Syracuse. He constantly had obstacles in his path, but he did not allow those things to derail his efforts. Whitehurst says, "When you bring the best out of every situation, you always look at life as there's a positive inside every negative." Following graduation Whitehurst immediately got to work on following up on what made him the proudest.

Using his experiences in life, Whitehurst decided that he would dedicate his life to influence kids who may be facing the same obstacles he had to endure. He says one of his proudest moments came when he was hired as a Camp Counselor for kids in Syracuse. That endeavor has led to him realizing his mission to continue to positively

When you bring the best out of every situation, you always look at life as there's a positive inside every negative

impact the lives of others. He will be moving to the Adirondacks this summer to work as a camp counselor at Camp Gorham, a YMCA camp in Eagle Bay, NY. From there he will finish up a semester to complete his degree and play one more season of eligibility for The Pioneers football team. One day he hopes to be a P.E. teacher and coach. He feels in that role he would best be able to connect to kids who need the proper guidance.

You can listen to the full interview with Alfonzo Whitehurst on Keeler below.

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