WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The excitement in Alex Highsmith’s house could be felt for miles away after hearing Roger Goodell call the former Ashley High School standout’s name. Alex, who played college football for the Charlotte 49ers, was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round of the NFL draft on Friday night.
The exhilaration was also visible about two hours away in Wilson where Alex’s grandmother lives with her daughter. Ernestine Highsmith got up out of her recliner and started dancing after hearing her grandson was going into the NFL. Relatives recorded her rhythmic moves as they chanted “go grandma, go grandma ,go grandma.”
“It meant so much,” Alex said. “I love her so much and to see her get up and dance and have joy like she did just brought a lot of joy to me! She killed it and had rhythm too! Steeler nation definitely deserves to see that video!”
The video brought Alex’s dad to tears.
"I had already stopped crying when my niece shared it with me then I started up again after viewing it," says Alex's father, Sam. "Seeing that uncontrolled joy and pride for her grandson come out through a dance was unreal. God gave her that strength and rhythm!"
According to Sam, a popular principal at Castle Hayne Elementary School, Mrs. Highsmith has recently faced serious health issues so watching her dance was a blessing.
Mrs. Highsmith once lived in Wilmington. She and her husband raised their children here. She also played a big role in helping Sam and his wife raise Alex and his sister. Sam credits “momma” with helping Alex turn out to be the young man he is today.
“Having my mom watch our kids when they were young was the biggest blessing and best gift I could have ever asked for,” he says. “I tell people often that the warmth and goodness you see in Alex came from all the love he got from grandma at a young age!”