OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Our Hy-Vee Athlete of the Week this week doesn't like the attention, so we gave him more of it.
Shawnee Mission North quarterback Jacob Needham was secretly captured on video picking up trash in the stands recently after one of his games.
This is our starting quarterback Jacob Needham at 10:30 pm on Friday night, after one of the biggest wins in recent school history, helping our custodial crew clean the stadium. Leadership is doing the right thing when (you think) nobody is watching. pic.twitter.com/6go00UO7P2— SM North HS (@SM_NORTH_HS) September 14, 2022
The video of Needham's servant leadership caught fire, with over 400 retweets and over 3,300 likes.
Needham wasn't one of them.
"Trying to gain something from doing that is just ridiculous in my opinion," Needham said.
The senior says he helped pick up trash to help, not to gain notoriety from it.
He credits his family and his faith for the act of kindness.
"[They] taught me to try to be selfless and to do what you would call good works," Needham said. "But a lot of it I would say is derivative of my faith, derivative of Christianity."
Needham reluctantly said he's picked up trash after games "a few times," but wouldn't elaborate.
His teammates and coaches know that going out of his way to help out is a common occurrence, but good luck finding out when and where.
"If Jacob did it all the time, he wouldn't tell you," said Andy Walter, head coach at Shawnee Mission North. "And he wouldn't want you to know about it, because that's just kind of how he does things."
He's getting it done on the field as well.
In fact, that viral video came about an hour after Shawnee Mission North knocked off Olathe South to move to 2-0 on the season.
It was North's biggest win and best start in years.
"It was nice for them (the team) to see that their preparation translated to playing well," Walter said.
Needham reflected on how the culture is shifting at Shawnee Mission North.
"There's been a cultural shift at North," Needham said. "With football and track and everything, just in regards to winning."
North sits at 2-1 heading into a Friday night battle with rival Shawnee Mission East.
Needham will lead the Bison into battle.
"He leads from behind, but he also leads from ahead," Walter said. "And that's what sets him apart as a leader. And that's really what our program needed."