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Syracuse Football Players Inspire SCSD Elementary and Middle School Students

This is a photo of a Syracuse University football player reading to a group of Huntington kindergarten students.“I like your hair!”
“I like your shoes!”
Syracuse University sophomore Joshua Escobar laughed. Joshua, also a running back on the Syracuse University Football team, sat on a stool in front of a class of Pre-K students at Huntington. Holding the book ‘Hair Love’ by Matthew Cherry, he chatted with the students before reading to them.
Joshua and his teammates on the SU football team were visiting SCSD schools including Brighton Academy, Ed Smith, Huntington, HW Smith, McKinley-Brighton, Meachem, Salem Hyde, STEAM at Dr. King, and Syracuse Latin. There, the athletes read to elementary school students – each selecting a Black History Month themed book – and told their stories, answering student questions along the way. These visits were 100% voluntary, with the football team reserving time each Wednesday morning for community involvement and service projects.
“Our coach wants us to be more active in the community,” Joshua explained. “I was a little nervous to read to the kids, to be honest! But when I was younger, I remember having a teacher who introduced me to a football player who became kind of a mentor to me. So I hope the kids have fun with me and get something positive from my visit!”
Teammate Berry Buxton III, a cornerback and SU junior, gave a 4th grade class advice about homework.
“As you get older, you have to know yourself and what works for you,” Berry shared. “It’s really important to build good habits now when you’re young so it’s easier as you grow to meet academic requirements.” He noted that if you don’t have good grades, that can really limit you when you’re older as you’re trying to find opportunities that you’d like to pursue.
While the younger students were excited just to welcome guest readers, middle school students said the visitors really inspired them to pursue their dreams.
“He read a book to us and talked about his football career,” Brighton Academy 6th grader DaShontay Kirkland shared. “It was nice. He taught me to stay strong and keep going. I want to go into the NBA, and he wants to go to the NFL. I play basketball on my school team, but I hope to play for the Lakers one day, and this really motivated me.”  
“When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian,” Brighton Academy 6th grader Aubrey Moore shared. “It inspired me to hear from the football player because he plays in college and he’s made it a long way already. It inspired me because it showed me that you can actually do anything. It made me feel like I can do what I want to do. If he could get there, I can, too. If he can achieve his goal, I can do it, too.”
Thank you to the SU players for taking the time to share their experiences with our scholars!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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