Troy Hill is best known for his work on the field as a cornerback for the Cleveland Browns. While his NFL career has been nothing short of inspiring, his path to the league and the obstacles he faced drove him to found Star Players Academy as a way to support students’ academic and career aspirations in low-income communities.
Troy grew up in Youngstown, Ohio as one of the youngest of 15 siblings. He lived with his mom and attended a public school in his hometown until he was 15 years old, when he made the tough decision to leave his community and move to Los Angeles with his uncle. At his school in Youngstown he had limited access to the resources and support he knew he would need to graduate. At his new private school in Ventura, Troy juggled rigorous coursework, football practice, and night classes that he took to make up for failed courses in Youngstown.
Troy describes the difference between his high school in Ohio to his school in Ventura as “night and day”. His new school had dedicated guidance counselors, new course materials, and a culture where attending college after high school is a given. Back in Youngstown, where public school funding is limited and the childhood poverty rate is one of the highest in the country, the college graduation rate hovers around ten percent. After Troy graduated, he received a scholarship to the University of Oregon where he played football for four years and was signed to the Bengals as an undrafted free agent. Today, Troy is an integral part of the Cleveland Browns but he wants his legacy to continue beyond football.
Jazzelyn Bradbury grew up in Kauai, Hawaii and is the youngest of two. Similar to Troy, she is a first generation college student and graduate from the University of Oregon. Jazzelyn is also a mother of two children. Her love and passion for her kids is what inspired her to co-found Star Players Academy in order to uplift youth and families who are marginalized by systemic racism.
Like Troy, Jazzy found herself with big dreams but little access while living on the island and because of the lack of resources, she made the decision to move to Washington state to finish her high school career through a program for Indigenous students. During her time at [name of school?], Jazzy was given the tools and mentorship needed to excel in her coursework and extracurriculars which ultimately led to her applying and receiving a scholarship to attend The University of Oregon.
Troy and Jazzy know that each child deserves the resources to support their aspirations, and they shouldn’t have to leave their home to find them. Through Star Players Academy, Troy and Jazzy want to build sustainable change with community-based efforts and meaningful partnerships with local non-profits to ensure that no child has to limit the scope of their dreams.