SAGINAW (WJRT) (5/31/2018) - A vacant Catholic school in Saginaw is being put back to use as a charter school funded by former NFL player LaMarr Woodley.
The former St. Stephen School will be home to the Woodley Leadership Academy beginning in the fall. The Saginaw High School and University of Michigan football standout is opening the school to teach the next generation of leaders in the city.
"I remember going to school and definitely when I went to one of my elementary schools, Longstreet Elementary School, and I found out that it was named after somebody, I think it was Martha Longstreet. And I thought that how amazing it was, but I never thought the day would come where I'll have my name on a school," Woodley said.
Woodley, who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers is teaming up with ACCEL Schools to open the K-5 school this fall with a charter from Eastern Michigan University. Plans are eventually to grow to a K-8 school.
"So if I'm ever going to do anything, I'm going to do it here in my hometown," Woodley said. "When I'm investing my money I invest here in my hometown because this is where I'm from."
Learning to be a leader started at home for Woodley. That's why leadership is part of the school's name and focus.
"If you feel like you a leader, you can do anything," he said. "You know, the sky's the limit."
The former St. Stephen School closed in 2014. Aside from some minor sprucing up, it's ready with few alterations.
Woodley plans to continue using St. Stephen School's mascot of the Titans and the same school colors.
"That way you don't have to take, you know, some of the budget money and have to go through and fix up everything," he said.
The school even has a football field, which is where Woodley's annual camp will be moved this July. He said he wouldn't be where he is today without his Saginaw Public Schools education, adding this new charter school is just another option.
"Why would it be a competition if we're all trying to educate," Woodley said. "You know, at the end of the day we want to see our young men and young women do great. We want to see them do great, then come back and help our city out."
For information about enrollment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 989-717-4390.