National Alliance of African-American Athletes

   “Fantastic Four”
Continues Watkins Awards legacy of noteworthy scholar athletes.   “I believe that this group of young men is one of our best Classes,” exclaimed Kevin Clark, Alliance Chairman of the Board, “because the challenges of today are not much different than those we faced in 1960’s. The reality of today is athletes do have a platform and we need more of them to step up and talk about the value of education. These four young men will definitely do just that.”  click hear to continue reading by Leland Stein.

Nicholas Andre Petit-Frere

Get ready Columbus, Ohio, as yet another Watkins Scholar/Athlete is on his way to traverse the field at the famed Horseshoe Stadium. Nicholas Andre Petit-Frere, a “Fantastic Four” member, is now the sixth Watkins Man that has decided The Ohio State University was the place to uplift his scholarship and athletic gifts.
The Watkins parade of scholars that have selected The Ohio State University, started when Maurice Hall (Watkins Class of 2001) decided Columbus was the place for him. Next, came Ted Ginn Jr. (2004 Class), Bryant Browning (Class of 2006), DeVier Posey (2008 Class), Dwayne Haskins Jr. (2016 Class) and in last year’s class (2017) was Isaiah Pryor
In joining the 2018 Watkins Class, Nicholas Andre Petit-Frere has included his name on the awesome list of scholars that have been Finalist for the Premiere African-American Scholar/Athlete Award in America.
“The Ohio State University was in my mind the best decision for me,” Petit-Frere told me at the Watkins Weekend press conference in Washington D.C. “Coach (Urban) Meyer has proven himself to be a winner, and, he cares about the players as people. I just felt like the university had the perfect mix of academics and athletics that I was looking for.”
Leaning on the positive encouragement from his mother, Loris, and a number of mentors Petit-Frere ingested it all and placed himself on a path that has helped propel him to seek prominence as a scholar and on the fields of play.
Wrote former NFL star, Kevin Carter, in his Watkins letter of recommendation: “I am a current volunteer football coach for Berkeley Preparatory School. It is through this experience that I have gained personal knowledge of this exemplary young man. It is clear the values instilled by his mother and extended family permeate through everything his hands touch. A mission to positively affect the world around him is taken very seriously by this young man. He’s sort of been a big brother to my son and a true example of what a young man should aspire to be. In Nick, there is simply nothing missing in terms of academic prowess, athletic standing and character.”
Petit-Frere at his young age has demonstrated that he is willing to listen and learn, and, implement those learnings to enhance the life experience for others.
One of the three main components of a Watkins Finalist is having the will and spirit to give of oneself to his or her community. Petit-Frere has indeed shined in the service portion of his young life. He volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries Food Pantry, His Grace Christian Fellowship, and for three years consecutive he served at both summer football and basketball camps coaching and mentoring younger kids.
Also, as a People to People Ambassador/volunteer, that led him to Harvard University for a symposium; however, part of the event led him and others to low-income areas where they painted and repaired whatever needed to be done.
Wrote Petit-Frere in his Watkins application essay: “Having the opportunity to travel to Harvard had a significant impact on my life. In my youth group was a kid from Sri Lanka, and, he talked to me about the very real difficulties of life in a poor country. His story changed my approached to life as I could have easily been in the same situation as those in Sri Lanka fighting for a chance to be educated. Academically, that experience allowed me to realize the opportunities set before me and to take advantage of them each and every day.”
Wrote Berkeley counselor, Kemp Hoversten, in his Watkins letter of recommendation: “Petit-Frere was admired at Berkeley for his academic prowess and his fantastic leadership ability well before being revered for his athletic contributions. Having been on campus for six days, he was elected Freshman Class President. It took me one ten-minute conversation to understand why his classmates had so eagerly voted for Nick. Genuine warmth and confidence like Nick’s is rare in adults, much less demonstrated with such natural grace in a fourteen-year-old. Perhaps it’s another sign of his intelligence that he is able to separate what’s important on the field versus off the field.”
Concurred Katherine Smith, a journalist for Spectrum Sports Multimedia, in her Watkins letter of recommendation: “I have been covering sports in the Tampa Bay area for 26 years. I ‘ve met so many athletes, both professional and amateur, and I can truly say there is something special about Nicholas Petit-Frere, and, it is not just because he is just a great football player. There is something inside of Nicholas that sets him apart from the crowd. He has a huge heart and a tremendous capacity for compassion.”
Taking advantage of “education each and every day” is exactly what Petit-Frere has done, earning an overall GPA of 3.8 at one of the better schools in Florida. He did not earn that lofty GPA taking basket weaving as he excelled in Honors: Physics, Government/Economics, US History, English and Psychology. He also took AP (Advance Placement) classes in Statistics and Government. This National Honors Society member also stretched himself and tackled Performing Arts curriculum in school.
The third component that the Watkins National Selection Committee focuses on, besides scholarship and community service is one’s athletic proficiency, and Petit-Frere surely has exceled as an athlete. He was named All-American by both MaxPreps and Under Amour.
The Watkins Family is extremely ecstatic to have Nicholas Andre Petit-Frere in its remarkable congregation. He is an archetypal complement, conjoining athletics, community and scholarship at a peerless and incomparable echelon. He is not misusing any of his time thinking about being a front-runner and role model; he already is one!!
Leland Stein is a columnist writing for the Los Angeles Sentinel, Voice News, Chicago Defender and Michigan Chronicle; he can be reached at or Twitter @LelandSteinIII