Linebacker Jamarco Clark, No. 7, makes a tackle on an opposing team’s quarterback. Clark leads his Iowa Wesleyan team in tackles this season. (Special Photo)
During Jamarco Clark’s middle school years, he had no desire to pursue a college education.
He just wanted to run with the in-crowd with no regard to his future.
But that changed once he met Wendy Manderson and Linda Fussell, who were two of his teachers. They were able to convince Clark that a college education would be in his best interest.
And Clark, a former Forest Park High student, took heed of that advice.
Not only is he producing for the Iowa Wesleyan football team, but Clark is now a leader at the NCAA Division III school. In between his studies and football, Clark is president of the school’s Student Government Association.
“This school is real big on student engagement in activities,” Clark said recently by cellphone. “Starting off, I wasn’t that interested, but as I became involved, I really like it.”
During his time at Iowa Wesleyan, he has garnered many honors for his off the field activities including the IWC Academic Service Learning Freshman of the Year, Tiger Spirit Award, IWC Student Leader of the Year, and Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellow.
This summer, he earned a chance to go to the nation’s capital with the Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellows.
“That was very exciting,” he said.
And Clark’s former mentors are proud of his accomplishments.
“We often use him as an example for our students on a daily basis,” Manderson said. “He is doing all the things besides football. We talk all the time, and I’m just so happy for him.”
So much so, that Manderson and Fussell plan to make the long trek from Pensacola, Fla., to Iowa this spring to watch Clark graduate.
“It’s the old ladies’ road trip,” Manderson joked. “When he comes back to the middle school he is like a rock star. Everyone looks up to him.”
On the field, Clark is holding his own.
He was switched to linebacker from tight end this season. Coming into the year, he was elected team captain for the second time during his tenure. The former Forest Park High standout is also producing on the field.
Clark leads the team with 29 tackles and has one sack.
He has moved from defensive end to tight end to his career linebacker spot during the four years.
“This team is getting better each week,” Clark said. “I’m really having fun in my senior year.”
Former Forest Park coach Rod Perryman is also proud of Clark’s involvement.
“I’ve always preached to my players to extend themselves beyond the playing field,” Perryman said. “Jamarco is doing a great job up there. We couldn’t be more pleased because he is a great young man.”