Troy Polamalu’s Student of the Year

Hey all,

I’m thrilled to announce that on this cool, sunny Friday morning I donned a cap and gown, walked across the stage in thebeautiful Alumni Park at University of Southern California, and was handed my diploma. I’m officially a USC graduate! While I feel excited and fulfilled, that’s not really what I want to focus on in this message — I want to talk about the reason behind my decision to go back and finish what I started.

The majority of top picks in the NFL get drafted before they complete their college education. I truly love football and it’s such an immense blessing and privilege as an athlete to be given the rare opportunity to use those talents at the highest professional level, but it’s certainly not a replacement for an education. So I decided to finish what I started and walked that stage today not only because it was very important to me personally, but because I want to emphasize the importance of education, and that nothing should supersede it.

So, I’d like to give back in a small way by recognizing a few truly outstanding students out there by sending them a signed jersey, but I need you to tell me who they are.  Nominate a student of yours for a Student of the Year Award coming from me.

If you are a teacher, principal, administrator or any other faculty member of an educational institution (or if you know anyone that fits this description, please forward this along), I want you to tell me about a student you think is truly extraordinary by writing to me about them at Three paragraphs, or around five-hundred words should do, and I will personally read them and choose one from each of the following education levels: 1) elementary, 2) junior/senior high school, and 3) college.

To recap, email me here with:

• Your name
• Your email
• Credentials
• School
• Student’s name
• Level of education (Elementary, Junior/Senior High School or College)
• About 3 paragraphs / 500 words explaining why the student you’re nominating should be recognized as truly outstanding.

Please submit all nominations by Tuesday, May 17th at 9PM, Pacific Time.
Sorry, but all nominations submitted after that time won’t be able to be considered in the selection process.  You’ll have to give me a few days to read through the nominations, but the 3 winners will be notified through contact information provided by the teacher who nominated them as well as a post on this website.

I truly look forward to reading all of your submissions and hope that this small gesture will be an encouragement to students to pursue their education to it’s fullest potential.

May God’s blessing be upon us,



Leave Your Own
  1. Michelle


    Congratulations on your degree! That’s a tremendous accomplishment and I think it’s great that you went back to finish your degree. You continue to be an inspiration to so many young people today.

    • Kathy Scott

      Congrats…. You are a GREAT role model!

    • Denis Yagel

      You make me proud to be a Steeler fan. God bless you and your family.

    • Kara Castellow

      Mr. Polamalu

      I am writing you to for my 5 -year old steeler fan, well to be honest I think he only likes the steelers because of you. He has watched you play since he was able to understand what was going on. We attended the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Green Bay two years ago even though you weren’t playing he just want to see you in person.

      You have been his role model for over 3 years, he has done his room completely in you and the Steelers. He has your fat head. My little guy strives everyday to be a hard worker like you. When I shared with him the other day how you finished college he was so excited for you. He wanted to tell you himself how proud he was so I told him I would send you a note.

      So Peyton says Congrats!!!! He wants to be just like you except he wrestles and plays baseball. He will be giving football a try this year.

      Thanks again for being the amazing person you are and giving my son a positive role model.

      Your Friend

      Peyton Castellow & his mom

    • Peggy

      Troy We are so proud of You on your Accomplishiments, Congratulations on getting your Degree. The Steelers should be proud of you for going the extra mile to earn this degree. Your a special person and you have alot of children looking up to you.. Congrats again on Student of the year.

    • Patty Joseph Izydorczak (Bishop Thomas Joseph's sister)

      Christos Anesti!
      God’s Blessings on you and your family always. “This is the Day Created by the Lord Our God, Let Us Rejoice and Be glad on it.” Congratulations, on your degree, that is wonderful.

    • Donna

      Congratulations Troy! And thank you for always being such a positive role model to so many young men and young women in this world! God Bless you and your beautiful family.

    • Ropati Pisia

      Very proud of you bro. Thank you for making all of Samoa proud.

    • Elizabeth

      Congratulations! That is no small accomplishment, especially for someone who is in the business of professional sports. As a Steelers fan (and a huge #43 fan), I am very proud of your hard work. You are a great role model, and I’m proud to say I’ll be a bachelor’s degree graduate in 2011 as well. (Three weeks to completion!) Thank you for being such a role model!

    • Judy R

      Troy –

      I have followed you throughout your years with the Steelers; not only are you an fantastic player but person as well. You never cease to amaze both on and off the field you are a role model for the young men today.

      Congradulations on your latest achievement and continued success in all that you strive for!!

      Pittsburgh Nation loves you!!!

    • Jim Coleman

      Above is just photos mostly outdoor stuff.
      Hey Troy, I “hate” the steelers, (don’t worry not a big deal; don’t get all bent outta shape on that folks; its just a “fun hate” as it were) but love to watch you play and your intensity and I think from what little I know you seem to be a classy guy. will enjoy seeing you as you continue in your career and hope God’s blessing on you!! My son in law a huge Steelers fan and in poor health right now, maybe some will pray for him…Jemme..
      May you have a fantastic year, on and off the field!!..:):)

  2. Ron Page


    Good job, anytime a Steeler gets smarter its a good thing!

    • Jamie

      Congratulations, you are my favorite Steeler of all time, not based on merit alone, but character! I too went back to school after reaching the pinnacle of my career and find it much easier to get a quality education. Even though your not a 2010-11 champion in the NFL, you are in my book and you’re the MVP. God Bless you and remember ECC 9:11, God doesn’t give talent based on preference…He just wants to see how you handle it all and make no excuses for failing.

    • RonSucks

      Obviously Ron’s uneducated himself!

    • Richard Sims

      You are a true inspiration to all that take their time to get to know you…on and off the field. You have never let your Stardom go to your head and always have been humble, but yet so Deadly on the field. I Bleed Black and Gold and am from the GREAT CITY OF PITTSBURGH…and I am oh so glad we got you from USC for you have made a huge difference in the Steeler’s Legacy…Thank You Troy…

  3. Boring Links Week 19 in Boring Pittsburgh


    [...] Recommended: Until May 17th, nominate an outstanding student for a chance to receive a signed jersey from Troy [...]

  4. Jeff Riddle


    Congratulations. I may be a Bear fan, but more importantly I’m a student athlete fan with a Purdue degree. Now I’m also a Polamalu fan!

  5. Jill


    Congratulations on the degree!! It is a major accomplishemnt. There are so many players that don’t finish school and do not feel they need to. You should be their inspiration. I decided to return to school after 20 years and its not fun…trust me. work and school, work and school… its a struggle but worth every minute. You should be proud of yourself for taking the time to finish. It pays to be a role model to people sometimes. I appreciate your encouraging story and will keep you in mind when I am struggling thru my next few years. LOL Again…congratulations on the degree.

  6. Aaron


    Great Example! My High School Sophomore is doing great in school with A’s, B’s and one F in Geometry, he attends his normal daily Geometry class and after school Geometry class resulting in his grade heading toward the B level, he also has football P.E. everyday before school starts. Hard work pays off and by the way, he is a phenom on the Football field. His High School Coach told him he is the best he’s ever seen in his position to play at the school. My son knows it won’t mean anything if he doesn’t get excellent grades. Of course he has hopes of D1 Scholarship.
    I’ve also gone back to college at age 39,next step Law School ASAP. It’s never too late to set a good example! I should be graduating from Law School at the same time my son is graduating from college. Thanks again Troy, although I’m a lifetime Raider fan it’s nice to see a great example of a professional athlete setting high priorities and putting God first. It’s a struggle this day and age to keep kids on the right path but stories like yours give us tools with our children. Thanks Again

  7. Cheryl Harris


    Congratulation on getting your degree, you are a true role model for the youth and some adults of today.I am sure your wife and sons are very proud of you.
    p.s. your son that was born on the 31st of Oct. and I share a birthday.. once again thank you for being a postive person and nfl player.

  8. Lily Sabrini


    Congratulations, Troy! I’m glad that you have chosen to excel in both sports and academics. Thank you for recognizing the hard-working students out there.

  9. connor gray


    You are a truly inspiring athlete who is setting the right standards for the next generation to aspire to be.

  10. Keith Greene


    Mr Polamualu,
    Just want to say congratulations to you. As a 30 year old college student, sometimes I get a little frustrated with being a college student at this time in my life. Knowing accomplished people such as yourself make the time and effort to continue your education is a great inspiration.

    Many blessings to you and your family.

  11. Heather Brodzenski


    I just wanted to say thank you for publishing this story for the world to see. It’s truly an inspiration. I am 24 years old and work full time and also am going to college. I took several years off to try and save up for school because my parents couldn’t afford to send me to school. Unfortunately, due to some health problems that occured during that time I was unable to actually save up as I was paying for hospital bills. After about 5 years I decided that I would just go back and deal with the student loans. I am now a nursing major and couldn’t be happier. It’s a lot of work balancing work and school, but I want this more then anything. I just wanted a job that would make a difference and because when I was in and out of the hospital I didn’t have the greatest experiences with nurses or doctors. If I can make someones scarey experience a little easier, then I will feel I have truly suceeded. Education is important and your story truly touched me, so thank you…sincerely. :)

  12. sandi wilburn


    I am so thankful and proud of you and your accomplishment!! You are setting an amazing example to all young people. There is no substatution for ones education. I only hope that my children learn this valuable lesson.

    God Bless you and the many opportunities that come your way.

  13. Mark Bergman


    Troy, Im not a a Steelers fan, but I admire your determination to go back and finsh!

  14. Dianna Bennett


    Troy, Congrats! I think it’s an awesome thing….You taking time to go back to school to finish your degree and graduate from college. I am now a single mom, going back to college, 29 years late, but who says I’m late, other than I should have done it 29 years ago after high school. Lifes circumstances and a divorce have made me take another look…It’s never too late… I have registered for college to take classes this summer and will register for the fall also. I want to fullfill my dream of becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, (Ultrasound Tech)… so I am going to do my best to get it done. I will be about 50 years old when I graduate, but I’m gonna try! Thank You for your inspiration and leadership, be proud of yourself, You deserve to be!!!

  15. Jerry


    Great job Troy!! Looks like you hit the books as hard as you hit the receivers! Congrats!

  16. Terry Dwyer


    Congratulations to you, Troy! You are truly the embodiment of what a professional sports athlete should be, and there are lots of us older generation folks that are very proud of you, the example you set on and off the field, and look forward to watching you for years to come – even if you are on my second favorite pro team! You are the role model that all parents would hope their children emulate. For the record, I was born in Pittsburgh, and moves in my career placed me in Louisiana during Archie Manning’s years with the Saints, so I’ve watched him and his kids since 1978 – Peyton and Eli are some other young men like you that are very special people to us with kids your age!

  17. Karen


    I just wanted to say congrats to you! I just recently finished my bachelor’s degree at the age of 45. It has been something that I wanted to do all of my life, but didn’t have the time or the money to do it. Finally I just went for it. What a GREAT feeling it is to have finally accomplished this goal.

  18. Chaz


    I was so pleased to read about your matriculation and your choice of degree (History). I would be interested to hear about some of your research paper topics from over the years. From an old librarian, I applaud you sir!

  19. hector deleon


    Right on Troy you are an inspiration to me…a fan and school teacher!

  20. The Riveras


    We are huge fans, with good reason. You are such an inspiration – a fantastic role model! Congrats!

  21. Keisha


    Congratulations!!!!!!!! Such a strong positive message!!!!

  22. Sharon


    Big Kudos to you Troy. I think you going back shows dedication, and sends a sincere message of achievement to our youth.

  23. Matthew Johnson


    Congratulations! I am so impressed with your accomplishment and the fact that you did it even after you have achieved so much in professional football. You are truly an example to others in not only the way that you approach the game, but also your how you openly share your faith. God bless you and your family. Proverbs 3 vs. 5&6.

  24. Karen Rison


    Congratulations! Thank you for inspiring so many of our youth today! Role models like you are sorely lacking in our great land and as a mother and grandmother, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart as my grandson looks up to you! I LOVE the signed jersey idea…thank you!

  25. Mike Alpert


    Troy, I am so proud of you! As a fellow Trojan graduate it is awesome that you went back and finished your degree. As a parent of four boys all involved in sports, you have provided a fantastic example for kids everywhere to follow. Education is indeed something that you will have forever no matter how long your professional career may last in the NFL. Congratulations!

  26. jestine ierneo


    good job on your accomplishment,I am a pacific islander and seeing you complete what you were set out to do it really makes me fill good .just the fact that you finished something wonderful that a lot of pro NFL players never complete.good for you TROY..the sky is the limit.GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR CARRIER.

  27. Mr. R


    My congratulations to you! Having lived in Pittsburgh for many years and being involved with many, many Steeler functions, I remain tremendously proud of the Steeler organization! Your efforts, on and off the field, reinforce my pride in knowing many of the past Steelers. Be proud, very proud, of yourself!!!!

  28. jerry


    Great job Troy,You have been an inspiration to my daughter for years,your a good person.

  29. Rhonda


    Congratulations on a job completed! You will never regret doing so. But you may have had regrets, had you not done this task start to finish. Good job, on putting an emphesis on education. This act may truly motivate others, hopefully a lot of your young (or older) fans, to reach for higher education.

  30. Asma S.


    Congratulations Troy! You have always been one of my favorite players all time in the NFL – if not the favorite. You are certainly a class act and one I wish there were more of in the league and in general, the world. I’m sure you hear this all the time, but are an inspiration to many. You inspire me as I’m sure countless others to be a better and more humble person. God bless you Troy & your family. Keep being amazing. ♥

  31. Eric Talor


    I congratulate you on completing your education, i feel for you and took me at about the same time to complete my degree at your age and I submitted recognition to the student of the year!

  32. chico


    Nice! Congrats as that is truely a blessing.

  33. Irene Smith


    Way to go Troy!!!! This is a great example to send to young people who want to play professional sports one day. You have shown these kids that it is just as important to have an education even if you have been blessed to be successful in playing sports. By the way I am graduating this year as well after I have already retired from the United States Navy. —GO STEELERS—

  34. Trevor


    That’s great. Congratulations!

  35. Duane


    Congratulation on obtaining your degree. I feel that it is an awesome achievement and is a goal to be extreamly proud to have obtained. You are a true ambasator for all that The Steelers stand for.

  36. kt


    good job Troy!!! You are truly an inspiration and motivation to all young people that look up to you. Keep up the good work and your blessings will continue to come your way.

  37. Michael


    Awesome! I credit your discipline, Troy. God bless you!

  38. Tim


    Huge SC fan, glad to hear you got the degree Troy, Congratulations!!

  39. Dawn


    You are such a great role model for our kids. They look up to you as a hard working, family-centered, all-around great guy. Now you have given them something more to admire! Great job!!

  40. bolaji onabannjo


    Good day sir am an african and to be precise Nigerian but i read your story on the internet news and i was encouraged and impressed by your courage to do what you did because only a few people in your shoes will do what you did though am not sure you have any provisions for students in africa but i will be glad if i get a confirmation you read my letter because i will be honored and feel fulfilled if am aware someone of calibre and status read my note because i have a similar story to yours because i had to quit schooling after just my diploma because i had younger ones that i had to sponsor in school though i still work now and still sponsor my younger brother in school i still dream of having an international standard certificate and am ready to work and pay my school fee in your country if am given access to get to your country by your assistance one way or the other or even if it is to sign a pre contract of me paying back in interest any penny spent on my education.
    Lastly sir i still maintain my earlier statement that you really inspired me with your courage and tenacity and even if my proposal is not your plans i would appreciate and feel fulfilled someone of your status and calibre read my letter…

    Best Regards

    Bolaji Onabanjo

  41. Beth


    Congrats – what a role model! As a teacher, I can’t tell you what an inspiration you are especially by putting education as a priority. I will be sure to send you a few nominations too!

  42. Joe


    Although I am a die hard Ravens fan, I must give the utmost respect to a man that understands the true importance of not only education, but finishing what you start. In a time when there are so many celebrities with questionable mores and values that our younger generation idolizes, it is wonderful to have a great man of solid reputation and foundation who does things right. Congratulations on your degree!

  43. Rudy Urban



    Let me say that first and foremost I am a Ravens’ fan, but the fact to know that you are doing something valuable during this whole lockout mess is fantastic. I have a lot of respect for players that understand the important things and don’t just care about the money they are making. I’m glad you had a chance to finish your degree and I wish you much success (except against the Ravens of course ;) ). I have much respect for you and you are a great inspiration for young folks. Keep it up and hopefully this lockout ends soon!

  44. Alvin D. Thompson, MSW, LCSW, LCAS-P


    Congratulations, and thank you for being a role model. My two sons and I enjoy watching you play. I often point out to them you dedication to what you do, and how you give your all. You make us proud to be Steeler fans. I am still working on my wife, she thinks she’s a Cowboy fan.

  45. Sherrie


    Congratulations!!! So excited to see what you have done and encourage in my own journey to “finish what I started.” As a single 46 year old mom with two in college myself, I realized it was time for me get this done as an example of the importance of an education. Also to show my children, its never too late to finish what you start, your never too old to learn, and its never a better time than NOW!! I am thrilled that this is what you have chosen to do in your off season and as an avid football loving, towel slinging, fantasy football player I must say, I can’t wait to do some very loud cheering this season-reasons only known to me! Blessings,
    Sherrie Payne

  46. Matt


    That is the kind of role model students need today. As a teacher, it is great to see you promoting education. Thank you and congratulations!

  47. John Booher


    I think i can speak for all of steeler nation in saying congrats! Troy you are such a great role model and you continue to inspire so many. The way you conduct yourself on and off the field is truly remarkable.

  48. Tom


    Thanks for being a great example! As you said, education is extremely important, in ways many people fail to understand. I can say that, without an education, I wouldn’t have succeeded in the career I chose. Thanks again!

  49. Cy Unpingco


    From one islander to another (I was born on Guam), you set an excellent example for not only islanders, but all youth. Your example demonstrates that education is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family and your community.
    Congratulations on a job well done!

    Cy Unpingco

  50. Clete Nielsen


    Good morning, Troy ! I am a “non-traditional” college student myself, returned to the classroom last fall after a 30 year absence(I turn 50 this year) in order to train myself for a new career in Radiology.I just want to congratulate you on finishing your degree, I understand the challenges of balancing college and family, and you have every right to be proud of your accomplishment. My schedule doesn’t really allow me to participate in your Student of the Year project, but I am a long-time Steeler fan. My 25 year old son who is serving in the U.S. Air Force is named after Rocky Bleier. I also am recovering from Achilles tendon surgery about 13 months ago, and I wish you a speedy recovery to full health. You are an amazing football player, Troy. It is always inspiring to read of how you nourish mind, spirit and body. I believe we are just stewards, we belong to God. Well, enough of my ramble…got to catch the bus for school. Hope the lockout ends soon!

  51. Priscilla Reyes


    Congratulations! You are an inspiration to many! Keep up the good work on and off the field! Many blessings to you!

  52. Oper


    Congrats. I have always respected athletes who go back back to earn degrees. While I am sure you all do not need the degree to live a fruitful life, it makes you message clear that an education is important above all things. A lesson that role models such as yourself can help to get across to the youth, many underprivileged, who look up to you.

  53. Scott


    Congrats Troy! It’s never to late.

  54. Karen A Bell


    What a inspiration. I’m glad you decided to do something positive during your time off. This is inspiring to young and old, that it is never too late to go back and complete what you started. Thanks

  55. Doug


    Well done. You are setting an excellent example both for your peers in the league and for kids. Very cool little nod with the outstanding student jersey program as well. Good luck.



    i think what you are doing for the kids is great…. my son is in love with football and he is an A/B honor roll student ….. i also stress to him how grades are very important… he dreams of playing in the NFL one day…. i wish i would of seen your student of the years program earlier because he fits that description to a ”T”…. maybe better luck next year …. thanks troy

  57. Troy Polamalu Gets College Degree | ..:: apolloKIDZ ::..


    [...] a Student of the Year program, which those interested in forwarding nominations can do so by following the directions on his website and sending nominations in by Tuesday, May [...]

  58. Tonia M


    Congratulations Troy! or should we say Mr. Polamalu now? I have always appreciated you as a player. I am a serious Steeler as well as my husband. Every year we cant wait to sport our Polamalu jersey and talk smack to fellow Bengals fans (or whoever will listen) lol. Thank you for such eloquent comments as to why you wanted to complete your education. I printed off your comments and shared them with my 16 year old son who is NFL bound! Thank You. Keep it up! Good Luck in the upcoming season! Many Blessings to you and your family.

  59. steven f gooden-champ


    Talofa my brother. Congratulating you on doing what is expected seems strange. However because the bar has been so lowered and mediocrity is heralded, I wish to simply say Mahalo. Thank you for modeling the principle of finishing and completing what one vows. Our young men in particular need to see this. I speak around the country and world as God provides, sharing these truths. May He who is perfect continue to perfect in you and each of us His perfect will by His Son Jesus. Thank you again.( p.s. you might like my book I wrote for my son, look for it on Amazon… its called “Always A Groomsman and Never The Groom. Mahalo

  60. Susannah


    You are an all around American hero!!!! Thanks for encouraging continuing education!

  61. Enrique J Rivera


    Troy thank you for being an inspiration for so many. Please keep your commitment to education young people will follow your steps. You a truly well rounded individual!!

  62. Mary Thomas


    Congratulationas to an outstanding person who has proved he’s not just another “pretty face”. Way to go Troy

  63. Mary


    Congrats on the graduation!! I am a returning student myself and I know exactly how you feel when things get accomplished. Take care and God bless!

  64. TJ Coleman


    Mr. Polamaulu,

    I am blessed to humbly serve as the president of The Aubrey Stewart Project. Mr. James “Aubrey” Stewart was from my hometown of Piedmont, WV. The same hometown as my cousin and Harvard Black History Professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr. At the age of 36, Mr. Aubrey left his job of 18 years to volunteer for WWII. The draft cut off age was 28 years old. He would have never had to fight at all, yet something within him caused him to leave his secure job, loving family, and the safety of his community to fight in a segregated Army that would hate him simply because of his color. For his selfless decision, he would pay the worst price imaginable.

    Mr. Aubrey Stewart would fight in the biggest battle ever…The Battle of The Bulge. On December 17, 1944 his unit would be overrun by the German Army. Eleven men would escape the hands of the Germans to a small hamlet in Wereth, Belgium. A farmer let these Eleven Black soldiers into his home at great risk and fed them. A lady from a nearby town told the German SS that these soldiers were in the town. The Germans came and knocked on the door. These Eleven soldiers surrendered themselves to the Germans as one so no harm would come to the Belgian family. The children of that family are still alive today due to the heroic sacrifice of these forgotten soldiers.

    These Eleven Black Soldiers would be made to run in front of the German’s armored vehicle. The Germans ran over the legs of one of the soldiers breaking both of them. They were taken into a field and made to sit upon the frozen ground, until their fates were decided. It began! It was torture for information! Did the Langer family help them? All Eleven Soldiers kept their silence and never told. They would be brutally tortured, dismembered and disfigured for their silence. They would be left viciously murdered in a cow pasture for two months covered with snow. The greatest tragedy would be their story would be covered by our country for over 50 years.

    The Aubrey Stewart Project is not attempting to remember the heroic and historic deeds of these men out of bitterness, malice or hatred…But to remember them out of Peace, Unity & Forgiveness. We are promoting Peace from this Tragedy. We are promoting Unity through this Hatred.

    The Aubrey Stewart Project will award it’s first two scholarships to a young man and a young lady in the Senior Class of 2011, who demonstrated Selflessness, Citizenship & Community Service. Those who demonstrated the qualities that best exhibited the sacrifices of Mr. Aubrey Stewart.

    We would love to nominate our two winners for your scholarship program but at this time we have not released the names as their graduation is not until May 22, 2011.

  65. Charmaine


    That’s awesome Troy…congratulations!! I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in my 40′s, while raising 4 children (all teenagers at the time!!!) and after 22 years of Naval service. Living proof of never give up or quit!! Your sending a great message to ALL by finishing your degree. GO STEELERS!!!!

  66. George R. Glasgow


    Congratulations Troy! You are centainly being a wise sterwart of your time. You are sending an awesome message to the youth of this world. I have a ten year old son and you are his favorite player. Thanks for the inspiration you have sent out with your effort. May God continue to bless you in all you do! You are a lamp on a hill. Matthew 5:14-16.

  67. Ruth


    Troy, congratulations! It’s tough to back to school once “real life” begins. You are an inspiration to us all.

  68. Connie Z


    Troy, Congratulations on your degree! What a phenominal example you set not just for young people, but for the rest of us as well. You are such an amazing inspiration. I, too, have unfinished business, and after serving in the Army and getting injured, they told me I would never walk again. I’m walking, am have returned to school to finish my undergrad and plan on going to Med-School. Congratulations once again on a job well done. God Bless you and yours and keep doing what you do!!

  69. Caryl


    Thank you for being a true role model. Last year I went back to finish up the degree I started 30 years ago! I received my “diploma” in February. As you said, not only is there a great deal of personal satisfaction, but it serves as a wonderful example to everyone that it is never too late to continue your education.

    Keep up the good work on and off the field…

  70. Michelle Maestas


    I would like to say congrats on your degree! I am a mother of two beautiful kids and I am married to a wonderful man, without these people in my life I would not be able to attend school. I decided that I would be an example to my kids and go back to school, and I always tell them that no matter how old you are you can always learn. Thank you for being an example to people like me and to kids everywhere, we need more people like you in the world. Thank you and God bless you!!

  71. Hawar


    The student’s name is Ako Sayed; he just finished his freshman year of college. He plays football there and is truly a remarkable individual.

    He moved to the United States from Kurdistan. At the age of five I had to say goodbye to all of his friends and family who he know most of my life. The fact that he was just a child made it difficult for him to deal with leaving his country. He was forced to leave Kurdistan because his father worked for the United Nations. At the time, the government considered working for the United Nations as a betrayal to the country. If he did not leave with his father, then possibly his entire family might have been killed.

    HIs family fled Kurdistan for the United States. HIs trip to his new homeland took him through various parts of the world until he finally reached his first destination, Guam. Guam is an American territory in the North Pacific Ocean. In Guam, he stayed in a camp for three months. We were not allowed to leave the camp for our own safety reasons. When we arrived to the United States, I remember him being very fearful, but yet excited at all the possibilities that laid a head of us. Being in a new nation and adapting new culture was not easy. However, his parents were always there to guide us in adjusting to this new country.
    Receiving a good education has always been very important to him. Since he was a little boy, I knew someday he would go to college. He always worked hard for what he believed in and has never settled for less. Coming from a low socio-economic country and seeing many people suffer at a young age has been a heartbreaking image in his mind. He thinks the best reward in life is helping people who cannot help themselves.

    He is an individual with great study habits. He works well as a team player and have excellent leadership qualities. He realizes he has to work hard to achieve a goal. He appreciates a challenge and the feeling he receives after he has achieved something that he desired for a long time. He enjoys new things and like to be an active participant in many activities. He is a great individual who constantly is active in the community and his school. Not only was he an all league, defensive player but he also make the dean’s list. Hope you pick him and give him an opportunity.

    Thank you,


  72. Andy C


    You are a true role model to past, present, and future NFL players. Congratulations on your degree

  73. Noanie


    I’m very proud that you got your degree. You’re #1 as a football player and now you’re #1 as a grad! Just think, after your Steeler’s years you can teach at a high school, you can tackle down the bad kids and there will be no discipline problems in Mr. Polamalu’s class. You are my hero. I love how you cross yourself after every play. You are not shy to show your faith. My “Woman Cave ” is covered with you and the Steeler’s along with Hine’s pictures too(I saw you in the audience of DWTS showing your support for Hines–that was pretty cool). Anyways I hope this lockout ends soon. My husband and I dream of being able to come and root for you in person at Heinz Field! Congratulations again, your wife and your baby boys must be very proud of you. may God Bless you with many more years fo success.

  74. Diane


    Congratulations on your degree, It is a wonderful message you are putting out there for the youth of today who
    think as long as you can perform in a sport your education doesn’t matter. Thank You !!!

  75. Ashley


    Congrats! truly and inspiration and definitely motivates me to finish what I start! You prove that it’s never too late to finish!

  76. Frank


    Congrats! It is refreshing and welcomed to see positive role models like yourself involved in professional sports amid so many that are not.

  77. Linda


    I love you troy, you have the spirit of an angel, and my FAVORITE STEELER . keep doing what you do… keep being TROY POLAMALU.

  78. Frank Ski


    Congrats, Troy! Many more professional athletes should follow in your shoes. God bless!

  79. Michael Macias


    Thanks for all you have done over the years on the football field. However, I must admit that your recent accomplishment clearly surpasses them all, as you show our youth that even while living a dream of playing in the NFL. One of your most cherished accomplishments is earning your college degree. Keep up the outstanding work.

  80. Anthro Liz


    Congrats!! I am not a huge sports fan, but it is true athletes like you that make me turn to sports. Thanks for your using amazing and talented influence as an inspiration to others. And thank you for making education such an important part of your life, as it should be. THANK YOU! And again CONGRATULATION!!!

  81. Elaine Gibbons


    I think it’s awesome that you wanted to finish what you started & completed your education to obtain your degree! You’re an inspiration to those of us that have yet to fulfill our educational goals~thank you.

  82. Karen Naccarato


    Congratulations on your huge accomplishment!! You are always an inspiration both on and off the field!! I hope this shows the students in sports to think twice before leaving college without completion of their degrees. .

  83. Fredy P


    Troy- Congrats, (most of all), for being a mench! Here’s a thought to further encourage kids to attend and finish college.
    – Taking on and finishing college will enrich every aspect of a person’s life that a typical18-20 year old can’t yet grasp.

    You can stop there, if interested, here are some true details:
    -I was a disinterested student until college with 2.1 grades. I never read ANYTHING except Fantastic 4 comic books and Cliff notes for reports. I was recruited to play college football. On my recruiting trip as a high school senior I had a blast. I immediate told my parents that I expected to get a great education that particular university.

    In my 1st freshman semester, I fell-in with new friends who happened to be English & Philosophy majors. Their conversations were riveting, so I began to read, and read a lot. Everything I’ve experienced thereafter is so much more rewarding because of the perspectives that higher education impart. Pragmatically, one good example, people still tell me that my argumentative writing skills are outstanding. They are.

    All of the aforementioned would not have happened without sports.

    Keep up the great work! It will echo for generations.

  84. Mike


    Congratulations on your accomplishment. Truly commendable!

  85. Edward Carter


    Congratulations on your accomplishment!!! I agree education should be the focal point stress to school age students thru out the United States and abraod… There are numerous kids who look up to individuals who are competing at a high level on a big stage for guidance and advice… It is sad to state a lot of kids would rather take advice from someone other than those who care for them on a daily basis. I am glad you have taken responsibility to ensure children who desire to walk in your foot steps know the importance of being more than a football player.

  86. Martina


    Great Job! Troy. You continue to make yourself better and the world.. Blessings

  87. jon clayton


    Thanks for doing this troy , your a good man !! and congratulations on all of your accomplishments .

  88. karen


    Congratulations Troy! I am proud of you! I started my AA Degree when I was over 30. I have been a Steeler fan for over 10 yrs. and you are an inspiration to so many young people. You have alot of Steeler fans here in the Four Corners of Dine’ Nation.

  89. Roscoe Charity


    Mr. Polamalu,

    You play for my favorite team and your aggressiveness and talent has made you one of my favorite players. Your message above that speaks of your love of football but emphasizes the importance of education now makes you one of my favorite people! Our youth need more like you! You demonstrate that hard work and determination can make your dreams come true, but, education it the foundation that all dreams should be built upon. CONGRATULATIONS NO.43 TROY POLAMALU!

  90. Gzee


    Congratulations Troy – great accomplishments aren’t just for the football field, right? It is always a pleasure watching you play football. Thank you for sharing the importace of education and for being a fine ambassador of the responsibility each of us has to help one another and especially those less fortunate. God’s continued blessings to you. Go Steelers Go! We love you guys up here in Canada.

  91. Sosaia Leaaetoa


    Hey man thanks for being a good example

  92. Leonard


    Congratulations Troy. I think it’s great that you went back and received your degree, and we always appreciate what an awsome job you do. Keep up the great work!

  93. Clint Morris


    Hey Troy
    JUst wanted to say ConGRADulations.
    I have watch you play since you were in grade school you played baseball with my nephew.I think i still have some videos of them pitching around you so you wouldnt hit a homer. I just wanted to say thank you for setting such a positive example for our community we all support you.

  94. Xai Thao


    Congrats Troy. Man, even though I am from Wisconsin and was rooting for the Packers during the Super Bowl, you are one of the my favorite players. God Bless man.

  95. Tyler Jorgenson


    Congrats Troy! The example that you set in finishing your education is truly remarkable. Fight On!

  96. bonnie


    Great job.. Troy a friend of yours’ said you only had to start talking to you , to kno how smart you are ,also you are so laid back and a perfect gentleman,, but don;t get in his way on the field.(.Mr Albright.).lol, asked him if he watched Hines on dancing? he said usually don’t watch the show but yes, and again he said Hines it just great, also said couldn’tbe two nicer men.. NOW my question do we see you on dancing next year?? Congrats Troy enjoy the moment , you so deserve it…

  97. Steelers: Troy Polamalu Graduates From USC – Photos


    [...] has graduated from USC with a major in history. He shared the great news with his fans on his website: Hey [...]

  98. Liz, Esquire


    Troy – As a member of the USC Class of ’96, I know first hand what a big deal it is to graduate from that venerable institution of higher learning! Congratulations on your accomplishment. FIGHT ON!

  99. Jeff Bandy


    Troy, I’m a diehard Ravens fan so naturally I’m just supposed to not like anyone wearing black and yellow, but as a father of 3 boys who recently decided to go back and finish his degree I can say I know what it takes to get it and I applaud what you have achieved athletically and academically. You are a true role-model, someone who can be looked up to without and worries, and we need more of you in the NFL. You have always played great on the field, now I am glad to see you fulfill your dreams off of it and this should help do that.

    Congrats to a fine citizen, and one hell of a ball player!

  100. Judy


    Congratulations on finishing your college degree. May God bless you.

  101. Troy Polamalu: Steelers Safety Emphasizes Education in Graduating from USC | You Can't See Me


    [...] by going back and getting his degree in history. He got his diploma on Friday.In a post on his official website, Polamalu said there was more to getting his degree than mere personal satisfaction:The majority of [...]

  102. Kelly Larson


    Congratulations! I love to see individuals share their motivation and passion for education! You are such a wonderful role model for individuals of all ages!

  103. Desiree


    Congratulations! I am so proud of you to finish your degree! You are truly an inspiration to all athletes men and women. I would like to personally thank you for making a huge statement regarding education. I am also happy because we are graduating in the same year!! Pure awesomeness! lol Great job with finishing your degree and may God keep blessing you, your family, and friends. I hope to watch you play this season. GO STEELERS! black and yellow black and yellow baby all day! :-)

  104. Cheryl Kaufman


    Congratulations on a job well done and on being a wonderful role model.

  105. BLANCA



  106. sabina trujillo


    Truly an inspiration, you are an awesome guy.

  107. Lysa harris


    Oh Troy You are dynamite on and off the field and a true role model for everyone….follow your dreams ….and be a hero to your children, fans, and young athletes to come..
    I have an all boys class that consists of 25 yound African American males who are currently in te
    he 8th grade. We talk about you an the Steelers every day and debate that Pittsburgh is the best..The Steeler boys when everyday!Thanks

  108. carol b


    Congradulations Troy and education is always there after football and keep up the good work
    God Bless you and your family

  109. Jonathan C.



    Congratulations on earning your degree! You are a great role model for all young people who are faced with so many “less than spectacular” examples in the sports & entertainment worlds. My son Caleb will be playing football for Brown University (Providence, R.I.) in the Fall. We were too late in getting his teacher to submit an entry for your “Student of the Year” contest, but Caleb would be a great candidate. We have seen the impact of not having a college education & his mom and I are encouraging all of our children to pursue their degrees. Your impact goes beyond just education for Caleb and our family, since we are are also Orthodox Christians. Seeing your example of being a devout Christian on the field, off the field, in worship & family life, has been fantastic for Caleb as he goes forward with his college football career. Thank you for your many efforts and may God grant you and your family many years!

  110. C. Wheat


    Troy, as a fellow graduate of SC (class of 2002) I commend you. Your comments about education are so true. I am thirty years old and have been a high school teacher for eight years, in the Central Valley. I have since returned to school, again to finish my doctorate in leadership. It is an arduous journey. One thing is for sure, we need leaders like you speaking up to support education, and to give thirsty minds the opportunity to quench their thirst, especially in these prodigious times. Fight On!

  111. Saitaua Wilson



    As a fan, I am thrilled to hear of your recent educational accomplishment! I recently learned of the student nomination from my sister, but I was too late for a submission letter due to the deadline. However, I was able to share today with my Pacific Island Club about your journey to earning your college degree at USC. So many were inspired and proud of you! As a Middle School Teacher in Carson, California, I see many students who are making the choice to meet and exceed the standard as you have modeled. Thank you for your example and I pray you will continue to be faithful in living out your purpose.



  112. David Liberty


    Way to go Troy, I am proud of you. Count me among your many fans. I love the way you play the game and now you will be well prepared in case the lockout never ends. I have family in Roseburg and my niece graduated from Douglas in 2006. CONGRATULATIONS!!

  113. Janelle


    So happy for you! I have been a fan of yours for many years now. I come to camp at St. Vincent every year hoping to see you and other Steelers. Congratulations!!

  114. Marguerite


    Troy as a mother and grandmother, and a “Die Hard Old School Steeler Fan,I am truly proud of you! Thanks for being such a positive role model for anyone who needs it especially the kids. Good Luck in your future educational and life long decisions. I love you and you are the best.

  115. diane schott


    Congratulations! You are an inspiration! Love, The Schott family

  116. Colleen



    Congratulations on your graduation! What a great inspiration you are to everyone.

  117. Jody


    That is a fantastic accomplishment–congratulations!

  118. Mary Sue


    Congratulations Troy. You are such a wonderful role model to so many. Don’t ever change. You are truly a hero to the children and all your fans.

    Sincere congratulations to a one of a kind person
    Mary Sue

  119. Susan


    Congratulations on obtaining your degree! I just wanted to say that you are right about education. In todays world, our young ones need it more then ever. You are someone that our young look up to and its really nice to see that you havent forgotten to be who you are, and not just a football player! Steeler fans all over pay attention to what our team players do and I for one am happy to see that you are setting a fine example! Your mother should be proud of the young man you are.
    Thank YOU!!!!
    Susan (Steeler’s fan for life)

  120. D. Malaeulu


    Malo faafetai lava Troy for your never ending examples…and Congratulations…You rock! God bless u and your aiga uso and your future endeavors…Soifua

  121. R. Ward


    Congratulations. I think it is wonderful for you to want to finish your degree (it is taking me a long time to finish mine). Not only is it great for you but it shows the kids that look up to you that education is important. Kudos.

  122. Kristina Potts


    Hey Troy, congrats and I feel the same way you do. I started college after I had been out of high school for over 20 years, and I am graduating on May 26th, from Anne Arundel Community College with my paralegal degree (litigation), with honors and 4.0. It took me awhile but I am so glad I did it. Congratulations to all the 2011 graduates out there. Go us!! and Go Steelers!!

  123. judy


    Troy..I am so proud of you for all your accomplishments. I had started college at age 42, but was unable to finish. Now at 73, I am happy to just get up in the morning. I wear my Steeler’s shirt all season, that and a crying towel , a gift from my daughter, has me in front of the tv cheering you on. You are a wonderful man, blessed by God. May He always hold you in the palm of His hand

  124. Mary Tabata


    Hey Troy,
    I was Prof. Hock’s TA for REL 121g which you and Faaesa took one summer many years ago. I still remember doing a guest lecture for that summer and the two of you absorbing what we had to offer…I am impressed by your determination to go back and finish and think that you are a terrific role model for other young athletes! Congratulations, I am proud of you!

  125. Polamalu fan


    Does this only apply in the U.S?

    Congratulations Mr Polamalu! An educated athlete! Great example for all. Sports is a great career but everybody must always have a back up plan – something to fall back on!

    Great stuff! Truly and inspiration to us all!

  126. Sarah Ioane


    Talofa Troy!!!!!

    A BIG Congratulations Troy Polamalu for your BIG achievements!!!!!! Your definitely a true Champ and an inspiration to us all especially the younger generation!!!!!!!!!

    It is an honour seeing Samoans/ Polynesians doing successfully well around the globe and making the most of life and the opportunities that come with it and most importantly blessing others with their blessings!!!!!!!!!! RESPRENT!!!!!!!!!!

    Have a spontaneous week and take care and GOD bless you always!!!!!!!!!!

  127. lorinvic


    Congratulations to you on your achievement!

    You got the skills on the football field and proved it; you have the education to fall on -Go Trojans! ; you have a beautiful family to share your life with! You have God right by your side to lean on! GOD IS GOOD! All the time! GOD IS GOOD! Malo lava- God Bless!

  128. Bambi


    Can you publish the winning entries?

  129. Larry Roberts


    Troy, I have been a Steeler fan since I was a child. I have had the pleasure of watching you with my kids and now my Grandkids who think the world of you…you and Hines are their favorite Steelers! Thanks so much for giving of yourself and congratulations on your many accomplishments in your football career. Offering these outstanding kids a signed jersey for their efforts will mean a lot to them. My daughter was a teacher of 4th and now 2nd grade and her kids would love to have been able to get a jersey from you! God bless you, Troy and may you have great success in your life.

  130. Sherry Powers


    Amazing! This was the nicest gesture on your part to recognize these kids.

    I just read that you recognized 40 children after receiving hundreds of entries instead of the initial three you had planned. You accomplished much more than finishing your degree, you inspired others to make a difference through your kindness.

    Thanks-Can’t wait to see the list of winners!!!!!

  131. Troy Polamalu: Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation — Pro Cause


    [...] is an advocate for education and supports some great events. And by way of Nike, one of his primary sponsors, Polamalu recently [...]

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