ON Tuesday of this week, I had the great pleasure of taking Travis Clayton on a nostalgic tour of his old school, Brighton Hill School. 

Just three days before, Travis had been drafted by the Buffalo Bills, one of the biggest teams in the NFL, and had only flown back to the UK at 6.30 that morning. 

It was incredibly humbling that the first thing Travis wanted to do was to visit the people who he felt had played a part in his success story.

Clearly, being international news, word of Travis’ achievement had spread and our students were clamouring to speak to him and ask him all about his recent successes. 

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Basingstoke Gazette: Travis Clayton visited Brighton Hill Community School, where he was a studentStarry-eyed teenagers were asking for the autograph of the 6’7”, 300-pound athlete, who only seven years ago had worn the famous yellow uniform. 

As we walked around the school and I watched Travis swallow up numerous staff members in his enormous bear-hug, it was humbling to see just how much he valued the usually “unsung heroes” within our school, who never ask for recognition, but just go about their business, helping young people to excel. 

He made a particular effort to pop into the medical room to thank the team in there, who bandaged him up and put him back together on numerous occasions, as well as our team of support staff who gave him guidance over the years to ensure he focused on his dreams.

Days like these remind us of why we all got into education. We realise that success looks different for every student who leaves us after five years with us, but our job is to support them and their families in creating the very best version of themselves and Travis is most certainly a shining example of someone whose successes we will take great joy in watching over the coming years.

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As many colleagues said to him on his visit, he is at the start of a journey which will require enormous hard work, but he knows that he will always be welcome at his old school, whenever he needs us. 

We, as a school, and as a wider community in Basingstoke, have sent some incredible people out into the world and it’s hugely exciting to see them go out and change the world for the better. 

We wish Travis all the best on his journey and know that our town will be behind him all the way.