Two schools connected with NFL greats this week to bring memorable events to students and staff, as local business partners joined in the festivities along with school district and city leaders. At one of the events, Carnival Cruise Line’s top executive presented a $15,000 check to the school.
Super Bowl week was super fun for the students at Muir K-8 Academy, where the playground was transformed for a Safe Zone Activity Day filled with sports, food, music, dance workouts and motivational talk about persistence, all led by NFL Legend and executive Troy Vincent. He was accompanied during the Tuesday event by several other former NFL players and volunteers. The day culminated in an empowerment and life coaching session for adults on campus.
Vincent is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations at the National Football League, beginning his football career as the 7th overall pick in the first round for the Miami Dolphins in the 1992 NFL Draft. After 15 seasons of playing in the league, he continues to be nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Everyone makes it possible for the kids to have what we call our Safe Zone Activity Day, where kids can be kids,” Vincent said. “Kids can have fun, kids can smile, they can dance – no drama – and we want to enjoy the kids. So we get more out of it, frankly, than we believe the kids do.”
Volunteers distributed new backpacks to the students and unveiled a newly installed mural designed by a local artist, depicting Muir students and their career aspirations. Cigna was the title sponsor of the event, which was also supported by the NFL.
A few miles away, Poly High School welcomed 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year and L.A. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who spoke to a group of about 200 students, including Female Leadership Academy members, students in the school's Pac Rim Academy – focused on global trade, marketing and tourism – and an especially enthusiastic Poly football team (eight of their players will go on to play college football this year).
Carnival Cruise Lines, operating out of the Port of Long Beach, sponsored the Poly event, with the company’s president, Christine Duffy, presenting a $15,000 check from Carnival to the school. The presentation in Poly's recently refurbished auditorium also included the donation of a Justin Herbert jersey and signed football. Board of Education Member Erik Miller, Superintendent Jill A. Baker and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia helped to welcome the day’s special guests, with other LBUSD and City of Long Beach elected officials also attending.
During a Q&A with students, Duffy discussed the challenges of operating one of the world’s largest cruise lines, and how she has witnessed significant progress for women in the workplace during her many years of experience. A student then asked quarterback Herbert what high school was like for him, and what his best advice is.
“High school was such a great time,” Herbert said. “You’re with your friends and get to enjoy going to class and having all those special events after school. My best advice is to make sure you’re taking advantage of everything this school has to offer. Make sure that you enjoy this time but at the same time work hard so that you do set yourself up for a bright future. We know how awesome this school is, and everybody here’s been able to give you an incredible opportunity.”