Tory Shephard ’13, AYA science education major
Tory Shephard spent her summer break working as the assistant pool supervisor and head swim team coach at Arrowhead Golf Club, and she also volunteered with 25 nonprofit organizations, served as an ambassador for hometown of Canton, Ohio, and escorted former NFL defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy as he was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
On May 10, Shephard was named runner-up in the Professional Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Queen Pageant in Canton, Ohio, home of the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
“In Canton, we pride ourselves on being a ‘football town,’” said Shephard. Being able to participate in the queen pageant – and be selected as one of only seven young women on the court – was something Shephard thought about since she was a young girl.
Shephard’s duties as a goodwill ambassador and role model began just two days following the pageant and ended following a two-week Professional Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival.
The group of women served their community during the summer by helping 25 different organizations such as Turnaround Community Outreach, Big Brothers Big Sisters and American Rescue Workers with projects. They worked an average of four hours with each organization, completing a variety of projects, including helping to build a house at a Habitat for Humanity site.
The 2012 festival – which drew nearly 700,000 people – began on July 20, and 19 events later, ended on Aug. 6. For Shephard, the defining moment was escorting Kennedy during Enshrinees’ Gold Jacket Dinner on Friday, Aug. 3, an event during which each inductee is given a gold jacket.
“It was such a bigger moment than I had ever experienced before,” said Shephard. “Being on stage beside Cortez, while thousands of people cheered his name, was utterly moving. The inductees devote their entire lives to football, and for a brief moment, I had the chance to stand alongside them and soak in their glory. It was a complete honor to be part of that.”
Shephard served as Kennedy’s escort at several events during the festival.
Another favorite event of Shephard’s was the Timken Grand Parade, where nearly 200,000 spectators lined the 2.2-mile route in downtown Canton.
Shephard, a native of North Canton, is a senior adolescent/young adult integrated science education major. She will complete a junior block this semester and plans to student teach in Hawaii during spring 2013.