MPS RUFUS KING INTERNATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2007
MPS grad Lance Kendricks knew from the age of 10 that he wanted to be a professional football player. “I remember seeing a box of Wheaties with John Elway on it, and I thought, ‘This is something I want to do’,” he laughs.
It’s still too early in his career to be on a box, but he’s mastered the art of thinking outside of one. It’s a skill he says he learned his first day at MPS’ Rufus King International Baccalaureate High School.
“On the first day, my English teacher Andrew Dockert told us, ‘Always think outside of the box’,” says Kendricks. “I remember that advice to this day. There are always other ways to learn and do things. I’m always ready to get better and do things differently.”
Kendricks was offered six college scholarships for football and in the end opted to become a Badger, joining the UW–Madison football team as a wide receiver. At the end of his first season, his coaches switched him to tight end.
“I didn’t want to do it, but my coaches thought differently,” says Kendricks. “So I learned the new position.” By the time he was a senior, he was an All-American tight end and went into the 2011 NFL draft ranked fourth in his position. He was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams, where he just finished his third season.
From an early age, Kendricks knew that his success on the field was tied to his success in the classroom. “I never let sports get in the way of my grades. People thought that I would go a long way just because I was good in sports, but I really focused on getting As and Bs – and not settling for Cs,” he says. “I saw it all the time, especially in college – kids who were great athletes but couldn’t even get onto the playing field because of their grades.”
Kendricks graduated from Rufus King in 2007 but says his greatest memories are from the decade he spent at MPS’ MacDowell Montessori School, from K3 through 8th grade. He appreciated the strong sense of community at MacDowell, where students were with the same teacher for three years at a time, in accordance with the Montessori method. “It was important to have that bond with the same group of kids growing up,” he says.
While Kendricks was building his dreams for the future at MPS, he was also building his character. He says that although he was good at many things, he still had some self-doubt. “I was afraid to want to be great – but I always had that dream,” he says.
He says he got where he is today by being positive and always striving to be better. “There’s never a moment where I feel like I’ve done everything, so there’s always room to grow.”