Nearly two-dozen students from McClymonds High School and Oakland Community Day School were treated to lunch at the Oakland Raiders facility on Tuesday given recognition for their academic and behavioral accomplishments.
Raider Linebacker Kevin Burnett and the Burnett Foundation teamed up with Microsoft, a new Raider and NFL sponsor, to present the students with brand new Microsoft 32GB Surface tablets.
Mekael Johnson, principal of Community Day School, says the school serves as an alternative option for students with disciplinary issues but works with the goal to redirect them back into the school district.
“We’re committed to academic excellence and reducing suspensions at our school,” Johnson said. “We were chosen by the district because of our low suspension rates and [students] were chosen because of their grades and good behavior.”
Harold Pearson, Executive Director of Student Programming for Academic and Athletic Transitioning at McClymonds High School, said their students were hand selected by teachers and the principal based on their academic and behavioral performance.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to see someone giving back and for them to take advantage and actually have a laptop so they can have better access to their academics,” said Pearson.
Before presenting the students with the tablets, Burnett spoke to the students about his own academic struggle to pass the English section on the SAT during his senior year of high school.
Understanding that his dreams of playing professional football were strongly based on his admittance to a Division 1 school, Burnett said he had to prepare himself academically for that dream to come true.
He presented students with the tablets and encouraged them to use them to their advantage to
help bring their dreams to life.
“I feel excited because I really needed a computer for school work,” said Rasheed Adseokan, an 11th grade student at Community Day School. He says his dream is to become a music producer so the tablet will help him store the beats he creates.
Burnett later spoke to students about the importance of always having a backup plan. While he thought he was “God’s gift to football,” an ACL injury in college nearly cost him his football career.
But he said he used the opportunity to become a student, earning his bachelor’s degree in roughly 3 years; he later went on to obtain his master’s degree.
“I didn’t want to go to the NFL and then have to go back to school because usually once you start making money, you don’t really worry about school,” he said.