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One-on-One with Jameer Thurman: From PTHS D209 to the NFL

PTHS D209 has a rich history of producing NBA and NFL players such as Doc Rivers, Shannon Brown, Michael Finley, Robert Covington, Flozell Adams, Ray McElroy, and Sergio Brown. PTHS D209’s list of sports legends and athletic accolades continues to grow with the Proviso East Basketball program recently joining the Illinois 1500-win club and the Proviso West Track and Field team qualifying for State and National meets. The district is proud of all past and present athletes and continues to support the vision for athletics by upgrading athletic facilities through a funded Facility Master Plan that ensures safe, secure, and conducive teaching and learning facilities over the next ten years. In January, the school community witnessed the completion of the first Facility Master Plan project; a $1.3 million dollar renovation of the Proviso West fieldhouse. The completion of this project signifies the beginning of an enhanced vision for Proviso athletics.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Safety, and Athletics, Dr. Tony Brazouski, will be rolling out the vision of Proviso athletics during an area coaches breakfast on April 27th.  “In order to ensure the brightest future of Proviso athletics and activities, we must connect present student-athletes with their successful predecessors. Without the past, there cannot be a present or future. Our vision is exactly that: Proviso Excellence in Athletics and Activities- Past, Present, Future,” explained Dr. Brazouski. The focus of the vision of Proviso athletics is to strengthen the relationships among youth programs, Proviso high school programs, and alumni in order to develop strategies to ensure continued success of Proviso students, particularly through their participation in athletics and activities.

As a reminder of Proviso’s deep roots and lasting legacies, PTHS D209 caught up with PMSA alumnus Jameer Thurman as he reflected on his PTHS D209 experience and talked about his present and future goals.

After six years, Jameer Thurman once again stepped foot in the halls of Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA) to share his story about his journey from PTHS D209 to the National Football League (NFL) where he just signed on with the Chicago Bears in January of 2019. As we toured the school, the Bellwood native, Proviso West star athlete, and PMSA graduate reminisced about his high school years. The tour included a stop at the Wall of Fame where a picture of Thurman as a 2013 second place wrestling state qualifier is placed. Next to his picture, PMSA will be adding Thurman’s Canadian Football League (CFL) 2018 Championship jersey.

Thurman grew up playing football, baseball, and wrestling for neighborhood teams that his father coached.  By the time Thurman had to choose a high school, he had no doubt that he would be attending PTHS D209. Thurman knew that PMSA would be a great fit for him and looked forward to becoming a Proviso West athlete alongside his childhood teammates.

When asked what his best high school memories are, Thurman recalled, “My best experience is placing 3rd in state for wrestling and making it to the football playoffs all four years. I believe that my class, the class of 2013, is the only one that has made it to the playoffs all four years.” He attributes the team’s success to the coaching, culture, and the strong bond that had been established with his teammates which dated back to their childhood years.

While Thurman had a passion for sports, he never lost sight of his goal to attend college. He graduated PMSA with high honors and earned a seat at Indiana State University where he completed his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology. After college, Thurman was determined to make it to the NFL, however, his path to get there took an unexpected turn.

Although Thurman was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft, he did get an opportunity of a lifetime to play in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders. In his first year, Thurman helped lead the Stampeders to the Grey Cup where they were defeated by the Toronto Argonauts.

“It was a tough loss because we were winning for most of the game, but that loss only made us stronger the next season. In 2018 we went back and got the job done; we became the CFL champs,” said Thurman.  

After helping lead the Stampeders to the CFL championship, Thurman worked out for eight NFL teams and decided to sign on with the Chicago Bears. Thurman still smiles when he talks about the day he received a call from the Chicago Bears in early January with an offer to join the team. “I grew up watching the Bears and have been following all the players since the 90s. It means a lot that I could be part of the history of the franchise and represent my hometown on Sundays,” said Thurman.

Thurman has accomplished many of his goals at an early age and explained that this is only the beginning. He hopes to accomplish great things with the Chicago Bears and plans on pursuing a master’s degree in engineering. Thurman is intentional about his success and continues to stay disciplined, focused, and determined. His advice to PTHS D209 students is to, “Set your mind to whatever you want to accomplish. There will be a lot of distractions along the way and things that you cannot control, but the most important thing is to make sure you stay focused and positive throughout your journey. Sometimes people take different paths to get to where they want to go but if you work hard things will happen for you.”