Jourdon Delerme-Brown ’20 is a defensive back on the Middlebury football team. The Mount Vernon, New York native is majoring in political science with minors in history and Chinese. He credits his family with instilling in him a drive to help others.
How did you become interested in mission work in Haiti?
My grandmother has done missionary work in Haiti for as long as I can remember. On a trip in 2012 with them, I was able to hand out care packages and everyday necessities to families and children in Haiti. In Kenscoff, Haiti, a mountainous area, I had the opportunity to actually learn soccer from the kids there. I introduced a local school to the game of volleyball. I learned lessons about life through missionary work in Haiti. I will continue to do this and give to Haiti because I greatly respect the people and the pride they have in themselves and their homeland.
You also said you volunteer at a local public school in the Bronx.
My mother has been an educator in the greater New York City area for over 15 years. As I surpassed the age of those she was teaching, I began to help them in the classroom with their work and with their comprehension skills. As I learned the Chinese language, I volunteered in the classes to teach the language concepts to the students. My role now in these schools has shifted to more of a mentorship position. I talk to the students about the importance of education and how it is cool to be a hard-working student.
What drew your interest to Middlebury?
I decided to attend Middlebury because I wanted to excel both academically and athletically. I liked how people weren't confined to social environments based on the things they do on campus. I heard about the school in high school, as my college advisor and many of my professors attended Middlebury and encouraged me to look in to the school. My mother also did her research on the college and informed me about specific strengths of Middlebury that appealed to me, such as the world-renowned language program.
What activities peak your interest off the field?
I am a member of the Black Student Union on campus and I am Co-President of the Student-Athletes of Color Club. From the Black Student Union, I was able to understand the positive impact of safe spaces where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts. I watched how an organization that was simultaneously dedicated to discussing important issues and maintaining a fun atmosphere for all involved, could also create many positive experiences for its members.
The Student-Athletes of Color club is dedicated to facilitating diversity on Middlebury's campus, focused specifically on diversity on athletic teams. Through my experience as an athlete and talking to older student-athletes on campus, I learned how lonely and difficult it can be to play on a team where you don't connect with your teammates socially and culturally. I have also known how great of a feeling it is to have that bond with members of your team and with members from other teams. The latter is what this club will be focused on with my leadership. I am to create a connected community that transcends specific sports and connects all student-athletes who are dedicated to diversity and growth as a community. Through my involvement in other clubs and due to my personal experience, I want all students and student-athletes to feel like they are not ostracized on campus, regardless of socio-economic background or ethnicity.
How have you balanced your academic class load with your athletic schedule?
Although I have not perfected this by any means, I feel more focused and sharp academically while in-season. I try to space out my classes or have them done a few hours before practice starts so that I can take a nap during the day if needed. I have realized that having these few hours to recollect myself during the day/week lessens the amount of stress I have and gives me the opportunity to refocus.
What is your #MiddMoment?
My #MiddMoment is the first early morning practice I had at Middlebury. Coach Ritter stopped all drills early in the session, called a huddle and directed our attention to the mountain peaks. As we stared at the mountains, he told us to take time to enjoy the things around us and how fortunate we were to be where we all were together. Soon after, the sun rose right over the mountains, illuminating the entire sky. I couldn't believe I was playing football and enjoying such a beautiful sunrise. I’ll never forget it!