Riverdale Country School

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Middle School News & Stories

A Character Lesson From Quintin Demps
Posted 03/09/2015 04:20PM

Dedication. Effort. Attitude.

Quintin Demps, a safety for the New York Giants, grew up in a tough San Antonio neighborhood. His mom was 14 when he was born. He never knew his dad. "D.E.A." — dedication, effort, attitude — was his route to a better life.

Demps was a natural athlete, but that only got him so far.  “What I have learned in life is that without a struggle, there is no progress,” he said at a Middle School assembly today. “I didn’t get to the NFL without going through something. Pain is going to come. Trouble is going to come but you have to be dedicated. I grew up with knuckleheads. I was a knucklehead too, but I wanted something different. I wanted to be a leader.”

Even now, his work in the NFL requires hard work. But getting to the NFL? That took real grit. “Right now you are laying the foundation for your life,” he said. “What kind of effort are you putting toward that dream? What are you doing when no one is looking? How much effort are you putting into what you want to be in life?”

Attitude matters as well, he said. “You have to be confident in your ability. You have to find out what you are good at. Life is a way of thinking. What are you putting in your mind? What are you saying to yourself?”

Demps told the students that he is becoming a free agent tomorrow, and that he may not be playing for the Giants next year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children, and he is devoted to them. "I wake up every morning for them," he said. "I play in the National Football League for them. I want them to know that Daddy did whatever he had to to provide for them." 

Demps came to Riverdale at the invitation of Middle School Head Milton Sipp, and a Riverdale parent, Jonathan Fassberg, who runs a global investor relations and strategic advisory firm. 

Sipp is working on a project founded by Fassberg that connects athletes to mentors in education, business, film, science, and other endeavors. In addition, part of the mission entails a service learning component in neighborhoods such as the South Bronx that would bring athletes in direct contact with young people from all over the city.

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