Mighty Moe heads out into the world

Keke Collins bio | email

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - In the fall Oberlin College, a top liberal arts college in Ohio, will welcome freshman Moses Richardson of Summerville to campus.

Richardson's road to the prestigious school has been full of obstacles since childhood.

His fighting spirit, earned him the nickname Mighty Moe on the football field playing for Pinewood Prep.

On high school graduation day, May 22, 2010, Richardson was thinking of the people who stood by him every step of the way.

"Without them I wouldn't be here," said Richardson.

The people who helped Richardson were there for his high school graduation.

Moses' fifth grade teacher, Anthony Russo, was among them.

Russo recognized Moses' intelligence in the classroom and ability on the football field.

"We had a sit down meeting with me, the principal, his mother and he (Moses) said, ' You're not treating me like the other kids. And I said, ' I'm not. You're not like the other kids.' He said, ' What do you mean?' I said, ' Moses you're going to college,'" said Russo a former Pepperhill Elementary teacher.

At the time it was a shocking prediction for Moses, who never thought about pursuing higher education and lived in a neighborhood riddled with crime.

Moses' mom encouraged her son to pursue the dream of college, securing financial aid for him to attend Summerville's elite Pinewood Prep.

"He will do just like I tell him to do, homework. I didn't have to tell him because I could see he wanted something out of life," said Mary Jo Richardson.

Pinewood Prep teacher Chuck Stejrn also attended Richardson's high school graduation.

For several years Stejrn gave Moses rides to and from school because the Richardson family did not a have a car.

"We've got this sort of joke that he owes me about 20,000 miles of rides, and if I were stuck 10,000 miles away I know that he (Moses) would come and get me," said Stejrn.

Richardson openly admits he is a slow reader and writer, and said he had to work particularly hard to survive in the challenging academic environment of Pinewood Prep.

Each year when the football season ended, Richardson would head directly from school to work at a local grocery as a bagger, saving the money he made for college.

Despite all the struggles he faced during high school, Richardson said he has learned a profound lesson on the meaning of kindness.

"If there's someone willing to help you, take advantage of it, and do the same when you have the same opportunity," said Richardson.

Richardson will be the first of his siblings to pursue a college degree.

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