Davidson’s John Behm makes a difference on and off the field
What’s tall and strong and red all over?
A Davidson College football player surprised by a room full of people.
Davidson College junior linebacker John Behm couldn’t help but blush when he arrived for his usual tutoring session at Davidson Elementary last Thursday and a room full of people shouted “Surprise!”
Behm was one of 22 college football players in the nation named to this year’s Good Works Team, sponsored by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association.
Behm volunteers at Davidson Elementary twice a week, eating lunch with the kindergarteners, helping in the library and tutoring fifth-graders. His work at the school is part of his service as a recipient of the Bonner Scholarship at Davidson, a national community service-based scholarship.
In addition to the academic requirements at the college, Behm is at football practice about 20 hours each week. Even so, he still carves out about six hours each week to spend with the students at Davidson Elementary.
“I love working with the students,” he said. “You get the sense you are having a direct impact.”
Everyone in the fifth-grade classroom was eager to surprise him with his trophy.
“He truly represents what it means to be a student athlete,” Davidson College football coach Tripp Merritt said. “He’s got character, integrity – all the intangibles – and he’s a leader.”
He’s the first Davidson College football player to receive the award, a prestigious national college football award that honors student athletes who make outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and community service.
“We’re so touched by the honor,” Behm’s mother, Kim, said. “All along it’s been something we’ve been trying to foster with our kids, and it’s great to see John’s taken it and run with it on his own.”
In addition to volunteering at the school, Behm also works with the Davidson Housing Coalition and the Adopt-a-Grand-Friend program and serves as community service chair for Davidson’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
“I don’t know how he does it all,” Merritt said.
Growing up, Behm remembers admiring the high school football players and wanting to emulate them. Now Davidson Elementary students look up to him, and he feels he is fostering relationships that will make a difference, whether in the lunchroom, on the playground or in the classroom.
“Wins and losses come and go,” Behm said, “but the impact we have on these students’ lives will last forever.”