We remember our youthful days in school and the excitement that would build when you knew that a celebrity or professional athlete was visiting the school for a speaking appearance. And you could feel the excitement in the Cummings School Cafetorium as New England Patriot running back Jonas Gray — whose four-touchdown, 200-yard rushing performance helped the Pats beat the Colts in November and earned Jonas an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine — approached the stage to deliver his remarks to the students.
Jonas was personable and genuinely warm to all who approached him for photographs and autographs, and he certainly represented the Super Bowl champions with class and professionalism. Jonas played his college football at Notre Dame and despite not being selected in the NFL draft, he persevered and became a key player for a world championship team.
We thank Gus Martucci — and once again, the former Viking center (who won a high school Super Bowl) performed another noteworthy act for our community in his low-key fashion — for helping to arrange Jonas Gray’s speaking engagement at the Cummings School. It was a great day for all who welcomed Jonas Gray to Winthrop.
We also thank Jonas’s agent, former Salem High quarterback Sean Stellato, for his interesting remarks about his career and his excellent book, “No Backing Down,” that chronicles the 1994 Salem High school football season that included the Salem teachers’ strike and coach Ken Perrone’s decision to cross the picket line.