BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
When Robert Easter Jr. won the vacant IBF Lightweight Title of the World on September 10, he became more than a champion; he became an inspiration to the city of Toledo.
On Saturday, October 1, Mr. Easter had the opportunity to see what type of inspiration he has had on the city by being the Grand Marshal at his alma mater, Bowsher high School, on Homecoming day.
Leading a long caravan of proud high school students, officials, and former graduates from the school on Arlington and Detroit, down to the stadium on Detroit and Glanzman Rd, he received numerous gifts from the school, and Toledo Public School’s Board of Education. In addition, he had young, and old admirers great him, and asked him to sign keychains shaped like boxing gloves.
At a special ceremony, Mr. Easter signed a pair of boxing gloves that will be on display in Bowsher’s trophy case. He also received a custom made, varsity jacket that reads, “IBF Lightweight Champion of the World,” a proclamation from TPS Board of Education, which honored, and recognized his accomplishments. He also received TPS’s Glass Egg, that’s given to retirees, or distinguished TPS officials, or graduates.
“I’m so proud to have him as a graduate,” Teri Sherwood told The Toledo Journal. His story, work ethic, and perseverance prove anything can happen with hard work,” she said.
Jesse Duckworth, assistant principal, added, “This is something special, because we have a former student, who’s the Lightweight Champion of the World, giving inspiration to the students.”
Student after student came up to the Champ asking to take a picture with him, or asking him to sign their keychain, shirt, book bag, or even their cell phone.
“He made such a big impact on Toledo, I felt like we needed to show him we appreciate him,” said Bailee Markowiak, Bowsher student.
“He’s just great. My brothers look up to him. And it’s just nice knowing someone out of Toledo, specifically Bowsher, has become very successful,” said Keshara Thomas, Bowsher student.
“I just love him,” said Cashay Johnson, Bowsher student. “He’s so inspirational,” she said.
“This is such an honor,” Mr. Easter said. “My advice to the kids is to keep working towards your goals, and dreams and stay away from distractions; because as a kid, it’s easy to get distracted.”
After the ceremony, the champ flipped the coin to start the game, and took more pictures, including a few with the referees.