Emerald High "My jersey, your impact."

Student gives jersey to father fighting ALS ahead of homecoming game.

GREENWOOD, SC (FOX Carolina) - Emerald High Schools senior football players give away a jersey each home game to honor staff that have impacted their lives.

The schools posted photos on Facebook, and the post has been shared almost 40,000 times.

The tradition is called, "My jersey, your impact." The seniors give their jersey to a special teacher of their choice and they get to keep and wear the jersey all day. There were laughs, tears, and a lot of surprises.

Before their homecoming game, John Deal honored his father as a surprise.
"I chose my dad. He's been a coach here for a long time. He was recently diagnosed with ALS," Deal said.
Deal says it was the perfect way to wrap up his final homecoming game.
"Just wanted him to know the big impact that he made with me on the football field, but most importantly, as a Christian," Deal said.
The teachers don't know it's coming. Gentle giant Robby Harrison chose Tonya Branyan from the athletics staff.

"I feel it's important to acknowledge the teachers that help you along the way," Harrison said.

"It shows to the teachers that they are making an impact on the students," Branyan said.

Career specialist Celester Pearson didn't see it coming.

"I really appreciate the students recognizing the teachers. I do think that sometimes we're unappreciated. And it really feels good to be recognized," Pearson said.

Harrison says it's just a small token on their appreciation. 

"It makes my heart warm," Harrison said, "I like making sure that they're happy. And when I see they're happy, it makes me have a better day."

Deal hopes they inspire other schools to do the same.

"It's just a priceless reaction that comes from the teachers, because, so many times, these teachers don't get the recognition that they deserve," said Deal.

The students also honored their principal.


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