Fresh off his pro day workout at Wisconsin, Joel Stave went back to his roots and visited Whitnall High School where he was honored for his success then, now and still to come.
“Pick whatever it is that you really love to do, you're really passionate about, for me it was football,” said Stave, standing at the podium in front of students in the Whitnall High School gym.
The former Badger walk-on turned starting quarterback was offering advice to students while he was back on his old stomping ground for the first time in not that long.
“I was actually back in the gym just last week to watch one of their playoff basketball games,” he said with a smile.
Today at the jersey ceremony event, he was watching highlights of the good ol' days.
“It was so much fun when I was doing it and just brought back good memories,” Stave recalled. “I've always looked back on my time at Whitnall really fondly, from the friends that I had here, the coaches the teachers, everybody here. I really enjoyed my time here.”
“That's neat, especially the high school stuff,” Joel’s dad Karl said of seeing the high school highlights. “[I] haven't seen that for a while. [It] does bring back memories because I was doing the filming. I did the film for the high school, they would have the film to break down, share with other teams and stuff.”
Now Stave is sharing those memories, along with a signed Badgers jersey for Whitnall, and Superintendent Lowell Holtz gifted Stave his No. 14 Falcons jersey. It was his idea to honor Stave.
“When I was talking to Joel about it, about doing it, he said you know what when he was in school as a freshman, sophomore, junior, if he would have seen a UW Madison jersey with an alumni's number on it, it would be like, ‘Yeah, I can do that, too.’ And he said, ‘So if it helps the kids work harder, dream bigger, he said he's all for it.’”
Stave was the very first student Superintendent Holtz met on the job. Now five years later, Stave came back in Holtz's last year as superintendent, quite possibly to see him move on to a bigger stage.