A large fight at Central High School last week on Thursday, May 5, 2022, made headlines. But one young man, who was seen on the fight video, never moved from his seat in the cafeteria. He stayed put, eating his pizza and did not get involved in the fight.
That caught the attention of a former Central High grad Clint Nauta.
“I graduated from Central so there was a vested interest. There’s a lot of comparison of now and then. I watched the video and I noticed this kid. As the dust settled, someone sent me a screenshot with this kid sitting at a table. He was the only kid in the frame sitting and eating. He seemed so unbothered by the chaos,” said Nauta.
That’s when Nauta and one of his friends, who was also a Central High graduate, started trying to figure out who the kid was. He was identified as 16-yr-old Samuel Hemmings Jr., a sophomore at the school.
Nauta said he posted the screenshot on social media saying “I want to buy him a pizza or other meal of his choice. This level of “minding my own business” is worth a standing ovation.”
His post took off with others commenting that they wanted to help donate money as well.
“We raised $150 on the first day. A couple of days went by and by second day, we were at $400. By Mother’s Day weekend, we were at $550. I told the Central High asst. principal that ‘I’ve got $550 for the kid, Samuel.’ I want to line up something to give it to him. He said, ‘No, let’s make a big deal out of this. He’s on the football team and let’s recognize him’,” said Nauta.
So Nauta prepared the check to present to Hemmings. It was written out for $550. However, by the time they presented the actual check, donations kept rolling in and the amount was up to $675. They were able to change the numerical on the check to $625, but the written amount still said $550.
“But by the time I left the school, we were up to $725. I posted the picture and it blew up. People kept messaging asking if it was too late. I told his father that he needed to set up a Venmo so he could transfer the money directly to him. Before I went to bed, I venomed him another $500. This morning, I had another $290. All in all, we’re at $1490,” said Nauta.
Hemmings’ father, Samuel Hemmings Sr., & his grandmother met Nauta at the school and were present during the check presentation. Nauta said Hemmings’ dad told Nauta that the reason his son never moved during the fight were three reasons. He said, ‘Samuel said three things went through his mind 1) I don’t want to get kicked off the football team 2) I don’t want to get kicked out of school and 3) I don’t want to let my parents down’,” said Nauta.
“That kind of maturity from a 16-yr-old egged me on. I knew that meant he had to come from a great family,” said Nauta.
So in this day and age where so much is negative, Unfiltered with Kiran asked Nauta how did it feel to present this check.
“I hope by rewarding this one young man, it inspires other people like him to keep doing the right thing. He did not do it for financial gain. He did it because it was the right thing. Had he gotten up and gotten involved in the fight, he would have just been one more person in the fight and blended in. Instead, he sat out and stood out and I felt that needed to be recognized,” said Nauta.
“I grew up in this community. I lived here for 24 yrs of my life. I’ve worked here the last 12 yrs. It’s my hometown. My perspective has changed. I have three young kids. I would want my kids to do what Samuel did, not join in. Everyone was talking about the negative. It is negative. Kids shouldn’t fight in school. I wanted to highlight this kid. It just struck me as odd. First off, I never thought it would take off like the way it did. I was hoping it wasn’t someone lazy who had strikes already. I was hoping it was a child with integrity and that’s what it turned out to be. In talking to his parents, people who know him through football, everyone spoke highly of him. Once I saw other people were into as much as I was, I wanted to max it out,” said Nauta.
Hemmings said he will put the money towards his first car.
As of this story, many are still wanting to donate. The Venmo to continue donating for Hemmings is @clintnauta with the last four digits of the phone number being 3358.
Proud of you both