Jesse Sapolu, the former Farrington High School all-star who went on to win four Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers, returned to his alma mater today to recognize the school for its positive contributions to athletics, American Football, and Super Bowl history.
“When you set goals and go after your dreams you’re going to get your heart broken,” said Sapolu to a school-wide assembly of more than 2,300 students. “That’s life, but you pick yourself up and stay the course. Pick yourself up and never, never, ever give up!”
Sapolu who starred as a center and offensive guard, was joined by former Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Michael Irvin, as part of an outreach program by the National Football League (NFL) to recognize schools around the world whose alumni have participated in an NFL Super Bowl as either a player or a coach. Sapolu delivered a commemorative Wilson Golden Football to Farrington Principal Al Carganilla as part of the NFL’s Super Bowl High School Honor Roll program.
High schools across the U.S. and around the world will receive a commemorative Golden Football for every player or head coach who graduated from their school and was on an active Super Bowl roster. Nearly 3,000 players and head coaches, and more than 2,000 high schools, will be recognized. Each football features the school’s name, location, the honoree’s name and the Super Bowl(s) the honoree appeared in. The Honor Roll program will become a Super Bowl tradition starting this season.
The Golden Anniversary of the NFL Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50, will be played on February 7, 2016 at Levi’s® Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers now play their home games.
“It’s wonderful to see our alumni return to their former schools to show our students the success that’s possible after graduation,” said Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Mr. Sapolu is a prime example that with planning, dedication and a positive attitude, our students can achieve their goals.”
Sapolu attended Farrington High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in June 1983. He went on to win four Super Bowl championships with the 49ers in 1984, 1988, 1989 and 1994, earned Pro Bowl honors in 1993 and 1994, and played his entire 15-year NFL career for the 49ers. He was inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
The NFL Foundation will provide the schools with a new character education curriculum and the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to help support and develop their football programs. The NFL Foundation has invested $1 million towards the campaign.