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Jamestown Public Schools
Persell Middle School sixth graders in Tim Anderson’s class had the pleasure of meeting a National Football League legend, Robert Brazile – not in person, but through a distance learning opportunity. Mr. Brazile, through NFL’s educational program “Heart of a Hall of Famer,” talked to students across the United States about key character values that are needed not just for a pro football career but in everyday life.
Over the summer, Mr. Anderson asked Jason Kathman, JPS Technology Instructional Coach, and JPS Instructional Coach Jeff Kresge to connect him with various distance-learning opportunities.
“I felt that would be a great chance for our students to experience something different and engaging without leaving the classroom,” said Mr. Anderson. “I tried it last year with the British Museum in London and the kids loved it, so I wanted to continue to expand on those opportunities. Jason and Jeff connected me with BOCES technicians who brought us the chance to work with the NFL Hall of Fame bringing students together with all-time great NFL players and discussing their journey.”
The NFL Hall of Fame provided students with activities to complete prior to, during, and after the talk. Before the presentation, students researched the life of Robert Brazile and wrote a short biography of his achievements. They were also asked to define the five key values that the Hall of Fame prides itself on including, commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence. Finally, students developed five questions to ask Mr. Brazile about his life and career. After the talk, students wrote about some of the important facts/details that they learned including: what motivated Mr. Brazile and what he still prides himself on today. Students were also expected to write about how Mr. Brazile displayed those key character values that the NFL Hall of Fame expects of their inductees.
“I thought this was an awesome opportunity for the students to see and hear from someone who has had real success in their life and what it took for him to get there,” said Mr. Anderson. “The students loved being able to connect to an actual NFL Hall of Famer and even speak to him personally when it was their turn to ask questions, which five of our students were lucky enough to do. Mr. Brazile was even complimentary of the quality of questions, which the students took pride in. I think it’s extremely important to allow students the chance to meet people like Mr. Brazile and have an understanding of the hard work and dedication it takes to get to be an NFL Hall of Famer, but also to show that having the key character values that he exuded helped him just as much as his physical talent. Some students may never get the chance to go to the NFL Hall of Fame, let alone meet an NFL Hall of Famer and ask him questions, so this experience really allowed them to see what kind of things are out there for them, and how anyone who builds great character and works hard can be anything they want to be.”