Third grade students at P.S. 46, the Alley Pond School, received brand new dictionaries from New York Jets running back Tony Richardson due to a partnership between the school and the team.
The partnership was formed through the organization Public Education Needs Community Involvement & Leadership (PENCIL), which helps to coordinate partnerships between public schools and individuals from the business community. The relationship between P.S. 46 and the Jets began in October when the team’s Senior Vice President of Business Operations, Matt Higgins, was at his former elementary school for ‘Principal for a Day.’
The dictionary distribution was the most recent event through the partnership.
‘Tony Richardson, who moved to Queens when he joined the Jets, was looking to impact his local community,’ Higgins said. ‘He had been involved with the Dictionary Project in Kansas City and Minnesota. Being that the Jets and I have a relationship with Alley Pond, we thought it would be a nice fit and a great location to kick off Tony’s program in this area.’ The school’s principal, Marsha Goldberg, said about 80 dictionaries were distributed. She said that third grade is a good group to target because it is at that level students start to learn how to use reference material.
Along with giving out the dictionaries, Richardson did activities with the children to look up words. He also spoke to them about the importance of an education.
‘It was very, very inspiring,’ Goldberg said, adding that the students were very excited.
Higgins said, ‘Any time students have a chance to meet a professional athlete it is a unique experience. When that athlete stresses the importance of education it is even more special and memorable.’
As the partnership continues, the school and team are looking at other things that can be done to improve the school. For example, Higgins said that they are looking at new learning technologies such as Smart Boards.
‘We’re just very excited and very happy to be working so closely with the Jets and PENCIL,’ said Goldberg as she also welcomed them to the school’s family. ‘I know that it will help our school grow.’
For more information on PENCIL and its partnerships, visit www.pencil.org.