About 3 years ago, a young man came into the Barnstable and UKSD community who would impact all of us in ways we couldn’t have predicted. Zade Shepard moved to the United States with his family during his sophomore year of high school and found himself trying to acclimate to a new culture, a new school, and the interesting place that is Cape Cod.
We first met Zade at MCAS tutoring, as he was going to be required to take this state standardized exam he had never heard of, and he wanted to get as much support as possible. It was here that we learned of his love for soccer and that he wanted to find ways to pursue it . We invited him to come see what UKSD was all about. Zade immediately became ingrained in the culture. He began to mentor younger Barnstable students and was immediately an integral part of many of our projects. Kids would light up when they knew he was going to be their coach or team leader for the day. Younger participants would fight over who got to have him on their team. It was here that he also began to express his hopes for the future. Zade wanted to become a first generation college student within his family and play soccer at the collegiate level.
Zade knew that in order to reach this goal, he would need to excel in school, increase his athletic training, and continue to be an active community member. If anyone knows this young man, you know that he did this and then some. That once somewhat unsure and shy boy just settling here from Jamaica has become a young man we are honored to know. He excelled at BHS, worked 6-7 days a week to save as much money as he could, helped take care of his siblings, and now he is beginning his freshman year at Bridgewater State to follow his educational path while also playing soccer. In just three years in Barnstable, Zade permeated the hearts of his peers and teachers while becoming a leader in his community. There is no doubt that he will do the same in Bridgewater.
We once asked Zade why he felt he was able to succeed her in Barnstable, and he said it was an accumulation of the little things. It was the teachers who believed in him and told him to never stop asking questions, it was the mentor and coach who gave him a bag of soccer balls and equipment to practice on his own when he had none, and it was the community and youth who embraced him as their own
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