Charlie McGill boys scholarship winner: Dayvon Robinson of Kennedy by Darren Cooper of The Record
It’s called corrosion engineering.
We all know that material, structures and metal can degrade over time. They can be attacked by foreign substances that they aren’t prepared for, harmful objects can be thrown at them. Metal can rust, warp or shatter.
Corrosion engineering is the study of how these things break down, and what can be done to halt the effect.
This is what Dayvon Robinson is going to study at Akron.
Not breaking down is what Dayvon Robinson has done his whole life.
Robinson, 19, has grown up in Paterson with four other siblings in what he calls a ‘decent-sized’ apartment. He’s about to graduate from Garrett Morgan Academy with an emphasis on Engineering. Under the current Paterson school system, Robinson had the option of what school he could compete for. He chose Kennedy, where he has run track and played football the last two years.
Robinson received the Charlie McGill Scholarship Award on Wednesday at the NorthJersey.com Sports Awards.
“Dayvon will be a success in life,” said Steve King, a teacher at Garrett Morgan. “I can’t tell you if he’ll be a success in football, because he’s going to a very competitive program, but I know he will be a success in life, because he has that motivation.”
Quiet but not shy, Robinson cuts a striking feature. His lips part wide when he smiles. He’s tall and thin, checking in at about 175 pounds. He’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. A LeBron James fan, with strong opinions on sports.
But he is not your ordinary high school senior.
Ask him his favorite movie, and he says “Puss In Boots” – “I think it’s hilarious,” he said. He clearly enjoys the company of his family, not minding sharing his home with his siblings.
“It’s not crazy….it’s entertaining, it’s funny,” he said. “My little sister likes to talk a lot.”
And, he might be the only student-athlete in North Jersey without his own cellphone.
“It’s a distraction, to be honest,” said Robinson. “I just stay focused on school, because that’s what’s important.”
Well, school and athletics. Robinson’s father, James, who everyone calls “Pastor,” directed his oldest son toward sports at an early age. He played basketball and baseball, but football was what made his heart beat fastest.
“He had me watching college football, and I saw Oregon. I saw their uniforms and that was how I got started in football,” said Robinson.
Growing up, Robinson was a wide receiver, but when he got to high school, he was shifted to defensive back. He jokes that people say defensive backs are wide receivers who don’t catch, but that doesn’t apply to him. In the first three minutes of Robinson’s HUDL highlight video, he makes several interceptions. Hands are not a problem.
Robinson began his high school career at Eastside, then transferred to DePaul, but had to leave there for financial reasons.
He refused to yield.
Robinson suffered a neck injury playing football at Kennedy and missed a couple of games. He doesn’t like to talk about it. It was hard. He had to persevere and did.
“I just asked God for help to carry me through it and he helped me,” said Robinson. “Coming back to the game was a little challenging.”
Some would say Robinson’s biggest challenge was growing up in Paterson. There are frequent headlines about the city’s problem with drugs and violence, especially among the youth. Sadly, one of the biggest stories of 2017 has involved illicit recruiting and falsified transcripts for basketball players at Eastside High School.
When asked about his hometown, Robinson answers that there’s a lot of good things in Paterson as well, pointing out NFL players like Victor Cruz who come back for camps and clinics, and the number of seniors from Paterson going to college next year.
“It is hard, because there is bad stuff always around you and you have to be careful. There is a lot of stuff going on,” said Robinson. “But there are a lot of good things in Paterson going on that people don’t recognize.”
King had Robinson in his Algebra II class as a junior. The two share a mutual love of sports, so instantly had that bond and have stayed close. King said he worked with Robinson after school to help him prepare for the SAT and when Robinson missed some school after his neck injury, he helped him get back on track.
“I knew he wanted to go on and play in college, but I was always trying to guide him in the direction where you go where you want to go for your education,” said King. “We all know the majority of kids don’t go on to the pros. I wanted him to see that he could use sports to enhance his college opportunities.”
After considering a handful of other schools where he could study and play, Akron was his choice. Robinson is getting academic scholarships.
“I am going to be, like, the only person from New Jersey there,” said Robinson with a smile. “So it’s going to be a tough adjustment for me, because I will be on my own for the very first time without my parents.”
Akron has one of the few corrosive engineering programs in the country. Robinson looked into it and was immediately interested. He likes working with his hands. He likes to draw. He’s very interested in mechanical engineering, so this all seemed to fit.
Almost instinctively, Robinson understands the premise of what corrosive engineering is all about. It means surviving and prospering no matter what comes your way.