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Eastside Student-Athlete Overcomes Hardships on His Way to Higher Ed

Senior student-athlete William Norwood has faced many hardships in his 18 years.

Orphaned at age 12, the Eastside Memorial Early College High School football player was taken in by his grandmother, who raised him along with a sister and nieces.

“She was like my second mom. It was rough, but then I eventually overcame it and just used that to drive to do good academically and athletically,” he said.

The death of his grandmother prior to the start of his senior year provided another challenge for Norwood, who said he kept working hard because he knew she was with him spiritually.

Norwood’s dedication has paid off—he’ll graduate with a 3.84 GPA, and in August he’ll head to Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., to play football.

“Even before the tragedies, I've always valued education, and when I was little I just knew that education is a priority,” he said. “I'm glad that I started off those habits early and [kept] the faith in them.”

Norwood’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by his coaches and teachers, who said he is an inspiration.

“As a player, I think he’s a pretty good athlete,” said Eastside Memorial ECHS head football coach Darrell Crayton. “But I think he's more of a tremendous person outside of athletics. He has a lot more to offer than just being an athlete. He can really probably end up as a president one day.”

Choir teacher Meghan Buchanan said she sees Norwood’s efforts in the classroom.

“He just tries his best but he's also a very serious student,” she said. “Every assignment and everything we do in this class he takes it very seriously. He stands out in his leadership and he's just really consistent, mature, reliable, dedicated.”

As Norwood prepares to leave Eastside, Buchanan said he’ll do so having had made a lasting impression in the hearts of others.

“He’s the type of student that makes me a better teacher,” Buchanan said.