A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A Trendsetter Is Born Teisha Jefferson
LANHAM, MD.—The Kent Baptist Church Saints held their third annual Sports Banquet at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Lanham, Maryland on May 12. The three-year program is largely supported by Pastor Willie J. Carter, Senator Nathaniel Exum and Radio One personality, Winston Chaney.
During the award presentation, 37 boys received certificates, trophies and a backpack. Teisha Jefferson, the only female hoop award recipient, received a warm, heartfelt applause, as she graciously walked to the podium, wearing a stylish tweed three-button suit, and a pair of white leather dress shoes called “Predictions.” “I feel special,” said the six-grader at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.
When Dwight Datcher, the newly appointed athletic director at Howard University, spoke about discipline, obedience and how schoolwork is a priority, Teisha meets the criterion. The youngest adolescent of Temple and Patsy Jefferson, explored karate at age four. Before sparring, at age six, she jogged from the monument grounds in our nation’s capitol to Queens Chapel Road in Hyattsville, Maryland, approximately a two and a half hour journey, to earn her blue belt. Two years later, Teisha ran a different cross- country route, before sparring to acquire a yellow belt. Naturally, there were stops along the way, but this determinist made it to the finish line. During a U.S.A. karate tournament at Coolidge High School, Teisha was amongst 300 participants competing for the highest belt in the sport.
Teisha earned a trophy in 1999 in Norfolk, Virginia by defeating a male who possessed a black belt. “This young lady is going places,” said Sifu Samal Hag, the bodyguard for actor Wesley Snipes. Breaking her arm playing tackle football, brought closure to the self-defense sport. It wasn’t long before she discovered basketball, in the backyard with Antwon Jordan and Tyler Kelly.
Representing Woodstream Baptist Church under Coach Anthony Davis, Teisha earned a starting position on an all boys squad. The trendsetter netted eight points per game. Winning the Christian League title in 2004, confidently, she says, “basketball is her favorite sport and nothing will bring her down.” What motivate Teisha are the Women’s National Basketball League, and the slogan “Girls Can’t Play Basketball.”
Charles Herring met Teisha when she transferred from Beacon Heights Elementary School. Politely, Teisha asked Charles, the old school point guard, to help her improve on the hardwood. The Saints court leader worked with her on lay-ups, jump shots, ball control, and how to effectively score on the big man down low. “The boys respect Teisha and she has beaten some boys one on one,” he concluded.
Teisha’s workout consists of 50-100 jump shots, lay-up drills; one on one contest and long hours of dribbling at the Kentland Recreation Center. She strongly believes that team basketball, constant hustle at both ends of the court, along with an accurate three point shot, will make her a complete player. “She doesn’t have to be the best, but just try her best,” said Tevin, her brother.
An unforgettable episode occurred when Clarence Minor threw an alley oop pass to Teisha against Glendale Sanctuary, where she finger rolled for a score. “She’s a tough player with skills,” says an opposing coach. Last year, Teisha met Alana Beard, following a Mystics pre-game shoot around. Beard, a former Duke standout, gave the hoop lover her warm up jersey. “Alana Beard inspires me and we have some of the same characteristics,” Teisha observed.
Losing to Glendale Baptist Church in the April finale, the Saints 11 and under finished, 6-4. Coach John Webster, a Department of Parks and Recreation employee in D.C., identified Teisha as one who does really well in and out of the classroom. In a couple of weeks, the summer league gets under way at Mount Ephraim Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro.
Teisha began reading and learning the alphabets very early. Every morning, with her father, they would watch Barney and Blues Clues. “Barney gave us the words and definitions,” the father recalls. It was imperative for Teisha to see those educational shows before departing to school. At Beacon Heights Elementary School, she set the trend in becoming the first kindergarten in Prince George’s County history to obtain the Principal Award.
On the next academic level, Teisha tallied 1200, the highest score ever in the State of Maryland, between elementary and middle school pupils, on the Maryland School Assessment. Having an A average, Math and Science are her favorite subjects. Studying two hours per day after school, including weekends pays off for this future engineer. “Education is one of the most important things a person can have in life,” she pointed out. The relationships with her teachers at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School are good, but different. First year teacher, Danielle Hopper, a New Yorker, foresees Teisha being a leader with a voice in the future. “She’s very bright, persistent, and one with a wonderful attitude.”
The library atmosphere she enjoys. Teisha is always eager to expand her vocabulary, and to research sports figures on the Internet. Graduation is near. She looks forward to receiving that essential document- a diploma. In August, she’ll attend G. James Gholson Middle School. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Maryland are her college preferences, thus far.
Socially, her hobbies are reading, going to the mall, movies or chatting with the friends on the phone. Teisha is fully aware that her blessings come from God.
The Jefferson tribe attends Woodstream Baptist Church in Largo, Maryland. The retired pharmacy tech and wife reside in Old Beaver Dam, a community in Landover, Maryland. They are proud and supportive of their daughter. Glenda Mc Kinney, a neighbor and Bank of America representative has furnished this up and coming star, Mystics tickets throughout the entire 2005 season. We know the generosity is not by accident.