Castille praises new Alabaster high school

Former Crimson Tide great Jeremiah Castille speaks to attendees at the Alabaster School Foundation golf tournament on March 26. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Former Crimson Tide great Jeremiah Castille speaks to attendees at the Alabaster School Foundation golf tournament on March 26. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

CALERA – Alabama football great Jeremiah Castille said he knows firsthand the benefits a quality education can have on students who otherwise would have little hope in life.

As one of eight children, Castille said his opportunities would have been limited had he not received a solid education growing up in Phenix City.

“School was a safe haven for me,” Castille told participants in the Alabaster School Foundation golf tournament on March 26 at Timbeline in Calera. “It was the best place Jeremiah could be for X number of hours every day.”

Because he was successful in high school, Castille got a chance to play for coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Alabama, and eventually moved on to the NFL.

“My children grew up light years from how I grew up, and it’s because of education,” Castille said.

During dinner at the golf tournament, Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers gave attendees some details about the city’s upcoming high school, which is set off Thompson Road in the fall of 2017.

The about 384,000-square-foot high school likely will be the second-largest in Alabama behind Enterprise High School, will include a 1,250-seat theater, three gyms including a 2,000-seat main arena, a golf practice facility, a regulation track and more, Vickers said.

“When we build this, we will build it for the future,” Vickers said, noting the campus will be easily expandable. “Everything we are doing is to build a championship school system.”

Castille said the new facility could impact generations of Alabaster residents.

“You’ve got a lot of Jeremiahs that will be growing up in Alabaster, and you’ve got a chance to make them a champion,” Castille said. “You will be investing in lives and creating a situation where they can have a dream that their kids can have a better life. It ought to get you stoked.

“You’ve got to be taught to be a champion. You’ve got to be taught to be a leader. That’s what’s so powerful about education,” Castille said. “It’s going to change lives. Generational chains will be broken.”