Historic firsts continue to blaze trails in Santa Clarita as Shane Vereen, Super Bowl Champion and SCV resident par excellence, was presented the key to the city during a luncheon hosted by the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
A celebration of accomplishment, arising with Vereen’s success as a Santa Clarita young scholar athlete with a 4.0 grade point average at Valencia High School to obtaining a degree in Media from Cal Berkley, and forging ahead to become the first SCV resident to win a Super Bowl Championship. It is a victory in sports history, Santa Clarita history, and Santa Clarita African-American history.
“Not many communities have hometown heroes and Santa Clarita certainly has a lot of them, but he’s our first Super Bowl winner. Not only is he a great athlete but he’s also a great human-being, and he was a great scholar,” said Terri Crain, CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Hundreds attending the luncheon represented a healthy cross-section of Santa Clarita’s richly diverse population, which focused on family, integrity, excellence, education, and hard work as a game plan for success. Vereen attributed much to his parents for instilling the ethics that have culminated in his achievements. First cousin to actor, Ben Vereen, Shane was born and raised in Valencia. He attended Valencia High School maintaining a 4.0 GPA while excelling in football, basketball, and track. In college, Vereen chose a Media major to help prepare him for a career after the NFL. According to Vereen, his future plans fluctuate but says his plans will be sports related.
“A lot of times people use the term “NFL – Not For Long” and I kind of took that to heart. My mother took that to heart more than anybody,” said Vereen.
Patriots’ Super Bowl victory behind him, Vereen now heads to the New York Giants. His younger brother, Brock, also raised to excel, returns to the Chicago Bears. His mother, Venita Vereen offers advice to young sports families:
“Remember that kids are kids. Sports are fun but it’s not supposed to be their job at this young age. Let them be kids, let them play all sports, and remind them school is far more important than any sports they are playing,” she said.
Shane Vereen also champions the fight against childhood cancer by donating proceeds to L.A. Children’s Hospital from events, such as the luncheon and by hosting a football camp.
Curt Sandoval, Weekend Sports Anchor for KABC7, described his own recent experience with cancer and the efforts to raise money for local resident, Connor Coughenour, of the Warriors league. It was Connor’s first time hearing Vereen speak. What did he like most?
“Just when he told you to believe in yourself,” said Coughenour.
There is an online donation page for Team Connor at http://www.gofundme.com/love4connor.
“We can all be very proud of our young people here in Santa Clarita as is evidenced by Shane and his accomplishments,” said Marsha McLean, Mayor of the City of Santa Clarita.