Family has always been important to Jabari Robinson. And though his household includes five siblings, they have always been close.
That is understandably true of his relationship with his twin, Shakir. In fact, the Robinson brothers have traversed similar paths, both offering shining examples of what it means to be good students as well as good citizens. During their days at Brunswick High School, Jabari and Shakir both played football and made stellar grades. When they graduated in 2011, they both continued to pursue their passion for the sport — Shakir played during his time at the Naval Academy. Jabari originally studied at Albany State but moved to Missouri to get back to the gridiron.
“I transferred to Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Mo., because I wanted to play football,” Jabari said.
College should have been a carefree time in his life. But unfortunately, tragedy struck back at home.
“This was in 2012 — I got a call that my older brother was in a motorcycle accident off the Spur and Canal Road and passed away,” he said. “So when that happened, I came home. Shakir was at the Naval Academy, and I felt like it was easiest for me to come home and take care of my parents.”
But Tahj Robinson’s death moved Jabari to give back in his honor.
“He was always helping people. He worked as a longshoreman at the port. He never went to college but was more of a tech school type of person,” he said. “But I wanted to do something to honor him, so I started a scholarship named after him.”
Shakir had established a scholarship, a few years prior, so Jabari followed a similar format. Working with the Brunswick High School guidance counselors, he developed a simple application for seniors to fill out and submit in the spring.
“The application is very simple,” he said. “It’s just a little personal information, extracurricular activities, GPA, that sort of thing. They also have to write an essay about a time that they faced adversity and what they learned from it, since that’s what I had to do when my brother died. I felt like that was a good topic. I’ve been really fortunate that people have donated the money to it every year ... And every year it’s a little more.”
The $1,500 Tahj Robinson Memorial Scholarship is reviewed by Jabari, and he then turns over the applicants to school officials to help select the winner.
This year, the applications are due by Friday and are available in the guidance counselor’s office. Any senior at BHS is eligible for the scholarship and will be awarded at the honors night program.
“I read the essays and look at the GPAs, but that’s not that big of a deal. I let different people pick the winner. It’s given out at honors night,” he said. “I hope that they use it for school or tuition. It’s just important for me to be able to give back to the community a little bit.”
He feels that it’s important, considering the area has helped him find his own success. Today, he is an E5 (staff sergeant) in the Air Force and is completing his degree in criminal justice. And he hopes his path helps motivate others to do the same.
“I want people to know that you can do anything you put your mind to if you’re willing to work hard,” he said. “Don’t make excuses. Work hard and be consistent.”
Coastal People appears Tuesdays. Contact Lindsey Adkison at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 912-265-8320, ext. 346 to suggest a person for a column.