When John (Trey) Womack III ‘06 began his high school career, he did not start it at Malvern as a freshman. He came to Malvern as a student in his sophomore year but, Malvern is forever engraved in his mind and heart as if he’s attended since Middle School.
Trey grew up in Springfield, PA, and had a group of friends that always talked about going to school and playing football together. A mentor of his encouraged him to think about what life could be like at Malvern Prep. “My mom let me make that decision as a freshman but she interjected and said ‘I think you should go to Malvern because I think it will set you on the path that you want to go.’ Looking back, I realize it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made,” he shared.
Womack fully immersed himself in all that Malvern had to offer once he stepped on campus. He played football, ran track, was a member of the Jazz Ensemble, and was even part of the first cohort of Malvern’s drumline. “A few of my classmates [were] inspired by the movie Drumline and wanted to get it instituted,” he explained. They were able to get support from the school and even performed at the Kimmel Center.
One of his favorite memories from Malvern was his time spent during Christian Service trips to the Romero Center Ministries in Camden, NJ.
“That, to me, is what warms my heart, being able to do things like that. I think oftentimes when you have experiences like that, the people you think you’re going to help actually have more of an impact on your life than you do on theirs. So I would say that Romero Center is something that I won’t forget. Spending those couple days out there in Camden and just being able to be a bright spot in some folks’ day for that particular day was definitely a highlight for me,” reflected Womack.
The emphasis that Malvern places on giving back to the community is extremely important to Womack. “I think that’s why Malvern continues to shape young boys into young men at the end of the day because there are so many opportunities just to give back from a societal standpoint,” he shares.
When asked what motivates him to stay involved at Malvern, he said, “I think about that moment of going through that valley and I think, because of those connections that you have through a place like Malvern, it has really helped me to take off and be where I’m at now. I think you’re kind of indebted for every experience that you have. Whether it’s something where you realize you are more prepared than somebody else because you went to Malvern, or you find a connection at work and somebody that you went to Malvern with also works for that company, and they give you the tools that help you to get promoted or they give you the tools that help you to excel. I think about those moments where I realize I’ve got to give back to Malvern because, if it wasn’t for Malvern, I wouldn’t know that person, and they wouldn’t have helped me navigate this so easily. So it’s moments like that where I’m constantly reminded to give back in some way, shape, or form.”
Trey has spent a lot of time giving back to Malvern through his time, talent, and treasure. As a former Malvern track athlete and football player, he has spent time helping coach both teams. “When you give back and give your time, you may encounter a student that is going through a rough time through their academic journey or going through a rough transition period. And just you being there to encourage them and tell them how you made it through your challenging moments at Malvern and being able to give them that in-person testimonial a lot of times will help that student and help them realize that this is a moment that they will never forget. So that’s kind of what I valued as a coach,” said Womack.
Womack can relate to those students who may be going through a low point as his life took a different turn other than the one he was expecting. After graduating from Malvern, Trey went on to study at the University of Virginia where he also played college football. He put in lots of work and time and was on track to transition to the next level of his football career with hopes to play for the NFL. Sadly, at the time he graduated college, the NFL was experiencing a lockout. “I went through, I would say, an extreme valley point where I was trying to make sense of things because I spent so much time in this one effort, and I just came to learn that certain points of your valleys or certain points of really having a trying time is often where your purpose is birthed.”
Trey has certainly found his purpose now as the Assistant Director of Engineering Extension and Outreach at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. “Whatever role I’ve had in the past leading up to now, I think the most important thing, even for Malvern students, is to discover what your purpose is so that way you never feel like your job is a job. As generic as my purpose may sound, it’s definitely to bridge the gap between people’s reality and their dreams,” he shares.
Womack reflects on the life lessons he learned at Malvern that continue to impact his life both personally and professionally.
“I can’t remember what specific teacher told me this but they just assured me that you go to school to learn how to learn. And once you’ve taught yourself how to learn, you can learn anything. That’s been my approach to everything. Also, it was at Malvern where I just learned the power of networking. I learned the power of a brand and understanding how you’re connected to certain people because of where you went and the stories you can share that you’ve been through. That’s one of the models that I continue to use today. I think Malvern truly taught us how to add value to every situation and really to learn how to value others. There were so many moments, even in the middle of the pandemic, for us as humans to be selfish. But if that was the case, we would not be able to press through to get to where we are getting to now. So learning to value the opinion of others is just crucial. If you truly want to have an impact and leave an impact, it’s learning how to value others. Even if it may seem at certain points as if what folks are offering doesn’t suit you or doesn’t impact you. Learning how to find some sort of value in what is being said or done to enhance the experience for everyone is truly just some of the things that I’ve learned at Malvern.”
When asked for his best piece of advice for a new student, he said, “You’re a clean slate so really jump in and submerge yourself in everything that goes on at Malvern to feel yourself out and to discover who you are. If you come to Malvern with preconceived notions or thoughts on how things are going to work out, you stifle your potential. If you submerge yourself into the culture of what goes on at Malvern, what you discover who you really are and then you end up having a lasting impact on the culture of Malvern as a whole.”
It is safe to say that the lasting impact that Trey Womack has at Malvern will be felt for many years to come.