, it began when she first met Michael in the hallways of Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee.
As Collins grew close to Michael she helped him adjust to both Briarcrest and his new life with the Tuohy family.
When Collins became Briarcrest’s Homecoming Queen, Michael was her escort, and they shared a common bond through their unique athletic pursuits: Collins won the Tennessee State Championship in the Pole Vault as Michael earned All-State honors in the discus and basketball championships.
She discusses ways in which everyone can do something to change the life of another person.
Using her own experiences as examples, she urges the audience to see the value that everyone holds and not let presumptions skew their judgment of others.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to host Collins here on campus!
She was amazing, and our audience made a huge connection with her.
Michael Oher says he doesn't hold grudges against anyone for the misfortune he encountered as a child. "I'm not going to feel sorry for myself because I didn't have a place to stay a lot of time. Among 13 siblings from the poorest part of Memphis, he never knew his father, whose murder he learned of months after the fact in high school. Another pivotal moment occurred during his first Thanksgiving break, when Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy spotted Oher as they drove past a bus stop near the school. Oher, then 16, was dressed in a T-shirt and shorts.
TEAM NEEDS IN THE DRAFT: AFC | NFC Meet Michael Oher (pronounced OAR), a 6-5, 309-pound All-America tackle from the University of Mississippi who is the subject of a best-selling book —The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, which is being turned into a movie — but until a few years ago was legally Michael Williams. Oher ultimately was admitted as a special-needs case.
Like so many perilous encounters from his life, it rolls more than it lingers. "As I look back on stuff, it's crazy how I got here," he says. I just lived day to day, did the best I could." A turning point came when Tony Henderson, who allowed Michael to crash on his sofa, brought him along when he took his son Steven to enroll at Briarcrest Christian School on the other side of town.
They were walking alone, dangerously on the side of a highway. He has no idea where they were headed, or their condition when they arrived. The vision apparently does not haunt, badger or even slightly irritate Oher, a survivor who now tools along highways in a black Hummer. "It means absolutely nothing now," he says, cheerfully.
His mother, Denise Oher, was addicted to crack cocaine. Sean, then a volunteer assistant basketball coach at the school who had met Oher at the gym, says Leigh Anne grabbed the wheel. "She cried the second she met him, and it was over," Sean recalls.
The Tuohys took in Oher, allowing him a safety net in their home in upscale East Memphis two blocks from the school.
For months he came and went as he pleased, and Leigh Anne worried when he didn't spend the night.