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    Bayou Classic student-athletes honored with Marine Corps leadership award



    Story by Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Scranton 

    6th Marine Corps District

    NEW ORLEANS - The United States Marine Corps presented two student-athletes from both Bayou Classic rivals Southern University and Grambling State University with the “Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award” Nov. 29, 2013.

    The awards were presented to Grambling State University team captain and strong safety, Naquan Smith and Southern University defensive end, Kadeem Jas Lewis who is pursuing his graduate degree in Criminal Justice. The two student-athletes were recognized for their courage, commitment and dedication to excellence in leadership both on the field and in the classroom.

    “We are proud to support Grambling and Southern University and celebrate the hard work and devotion of the student-athletes taking part in the Bayou Classic,” said Col. Robert C. Clements, Head, Performance Evaluation Section, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Headquarters Marine Corps. “We recognize these two distinguished universities for their commitment to excellence and the education of the future leaders of this nation.”

    Both selected athletes were nominated for the award by fellow teammates as well as their coaches. The award recognizes the leadership traits such as integrity, courage, loyalty and enthusiasm learned and demonstrated by both enlisted and Marine officers to help build the respect, confidence and loyalty of their fellow Marines.

    The awards were presented during the Bayou Classic’s Coaches Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans, 29 Nov. 2013. As a partner of the Bayou Classic the Marine Corps also had select Marines from across the Marine Corps present the luncheon. The luncheon was the third consecutive year the Marines presented the excellence award at the event.

    Clements served as a co-speaker and helped host and welcome the coaches and athletes of both Grambling and Southern University football teams.

    “We recognize and celebrate those young people who display the qualities of leadership through their commitment to hard work in school as well as their extra-curricular activities,” Clements said. “The Marine Corps Excellence in Leadership Award acknowledges these exceptional students-athletes and represents the Marine Corps proud heritage of leadership excellence that has been the cornerstone of Marine Corps tradition.”

    The Marines presence at the luncheon as well as the Bayou Classic as a whole is part of the Marine Corps’ larger effort to reconnect and strengthen its relationship with Historically Black Colleges and Universities as it continues to build leaders and attract qualified African American officer candidates.

    The Marine Corps also participated in the Career Fair and Empowerment Exchange held at the Regency. The career fair focused on health and wellness as well as career planning for the future. The Marines participating in the career fair were able to talk with students and community members about career options within the armed services and demonstrate the viability of military service as an option within the African American community.

    The United States Marine Corps has been a partner of the Bayou Classic for 13 consecutive years in celebration of the hard work, courage, and commitment to excellence exhibited by its many participants.

    For more information about scheduling interviews or media coverage of the Marines involvement with Southern University or the Bayou Classic event, please contact Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Scranton, at 678-464-2553 or



    Date Taken: 11.29.2013
    Date Posted: 11.29.2013 16:15
    Story ID: 117551
    Location: NEW ORLEANS, LA, US 

    Web Views: 116
    Downloads: 0