ALTAVISTA, Va. (WDBJ7) Altavista High School is Colonel Country. Their colors of orange and black are painted on walls and lockers across the building.
On this day most everyone on the faculty is wearing red.
"We're just very excited and very proud," said Altavista High School math teacher, Dana Waller.
Proud of Altavista alumni Juan Thornhill, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs who are playing in this weekend's Super Bowl.
"It's such an honor to have someone that you know, and that you were able to teach and have a great relationship with, in the pros," said Waller.
Just a few years ago, Thornhill was a student in Waller's classroom. She remembers him as a good student with a humble personality.
"Every weekend when he came in from a game, he wouldn't brag about himself," said Waller. "It was always about him and the team."
If Thornhill wanted to brag, there would have been plenty to talk about. He helped Altavista win five state championships in football and basketball.
You can still find his photos hanging in a "Hall of Champions" in the school gymnasium.
"He was everything we want here at the school as far as a student athlete," said Altavista High School athletic director, Dean Hubbard. "We're so excited here at the school for Juan and everything he's accomplished."
Thornhill was a standout at the University of Virginia, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs just last year. He started 16 games this season, before getting sidelined with an injury. He won't be able to play Sunday, but he will be in uniform on the sidelines and could take home a ring if his team wins.
While he won't be on the field for Sunday's game, Thornhill's fans here in Altavista say he still has a long career in front of him and they think we just might see him in a future Super Bowl.
"I know how hard he'll work to get back," said Altavista High School principal, Tyrone Gafford. "There's no doubt in my heart that we'll see Juan out there on the field in the NFL for quite some time."
Making his hometown proud for years to come.
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