With friends and family looking on, Evans running back Cheng Ho tries on a Harvard hat after signing a scholarship with the school. Vanderbilt also was interested in Cheng.
Photo by Jonathan Heeter
Anyone wondering what kind of impact Cheng Ho has made on Evans High School should have attended his scholarship signing Wednesday.
With more than a hundred classmates, teachers and administrators crammed into the Evans High School library looking on, Ho signed a football scholarship with Harvard. The Ivy League school will place Ho in Avon Old Farms Prep School in Avon, Conn., for a year to work on his English.
"This is a dream come true," Ho said. "This is more than a dream. I could have never imagined this happening. I give all of the credit to my friends and teachers and everyone who ever helped me."
Ho needed a lot of help when he arrived in Martinez from Taiwan as a 13-year-old after his father's death. He had to learn the English language, and in five years went from speaking no English to being ranked third in his graduating class. He also was elected homecoming king.
When it came time for him to sign his scholarship, Ho invited every person in the library to stand behind him even though it was impossible to fit all of the attendees into the small space.
"I owe just about everything to the people in this room," he said. "They have all done something to help me along the way. I will go and tell all of them individually how much they helped me and try to give them all a hug."
Although it seemed insignificant to discuss at the signing because of the emotion, Ho was a standout football player.
The 2004 Columbia County News-Times Player of the Year nearly eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second year, despite fighting a severe ankle sprain.
"Cheng was so strong for us," said Evans coach Marty Jackson. "He worked as hard as anyone, and he never let that injury get him down."
Ho looked at being a preferred walk-on at Georgia and drew interest from Vanderbilt, Oregon, Davidson and Furman.
"When I knew Harvard was going to offer, it was like Harvard, 70 percent, Georgia, 30 percent," Ho said. "But Harvard was just too good to pass up."
Ho will play tailback next year for Avon Old Farms. The Crimson recruited him as a running back, but mentioned that a switch to cornerback was a possibility.
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