On the brink of giving up, resilience kept Trey Austin in the game. Now, the Irving High School graduate is headed to McPherson College on a football scholarship to make a name for himself.

“To me, graduating means I’m opening my wings to life,” he says. “Yeah, I’m 18. I’m an adult. But I’ll be going into the real world now. I’ll be going to college.”

And he’ll be among the first in his family to do so.

“Honestly, most of my family had to drop out of school,” he says. “So for my family, for them to see me graduate is like, ‘He made it.'”

But the road to graduation was not easy for Trey.

“At first, when I was going to another school, I didn’t want to graduate,” he says. “I didn’t want to finish high school. I wanted to drop out.”

Fortunately, people who care about him encouraged him to keep going.

“I’m so glad that I had people to push me,” says Trey. “Knowing that I didn’t give up shows that I beat that adversity.”

Although there were a lot of people who inspired him, he has one fundamental motivator.

“The main thing that keeps me motivated and is my why is my mom,” he says. “She did everything she could just so I could go to school here and play football. She’s like my best friend. We’re really tight. She always told me to stand out, ‘Be you. Don’t try to be someone you can’t be.'”

That advice paid dividends when he received the coveted email from McPherson, offering him an athletic scholarship.

“When I saw that McPherson emailed me, I wanted to cry,” says Trey. “I didn’t think I was going to play football. I really wanted to play, but I didn’t think I was going to get to. I find that as an open door, and I took that really serious. Because most people don’t get this opportunity.”

In addition to his mom’s advice, the words of his coach also resonated with Trey.

“A coach told me, ‘You’re actions speak louder. People are out there looking,'” he says. “Little do you know that people are really watching you. So it was kind of heartwarming knowing I didn’t give up.”

As he closes out his career in Irving ISD, Trey reminisces on what he leaves behind.

“Honestly, I’m going to miss the teachers,” he says. “The teachers here, I’ve built a really great relationship with them.”

One teacher with whom he has forged a strong relationship is Dr. (Lizette) Hodgkiss.

“She has helped me and guided me through my senior year,” Trey says. “Stuff that I couldn’t do with life. Not just school – life.  I would go straight to talk to her, and she would calm me down and tell me the gist of it because she’s been through it.”

As he moves on to the next phase of life, he imparts words of advice for his classmates, and for himself.

“To the Class of 2019 – just keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t look back,” he says. “I will never stop working until my heartbeat hits its last line. I’m always going to keep going, I’m never going to stop. I’m going to keep grinding until I get to where I need to be.”