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Linden-McKinley Football Players read to Windsor STEM Students to Encourage Literacy


September  10, 2019 -- The Linden-McKinley STEM Academy football team is getting ready to hit the gridiron under the Friday night lights, but it’s what they do hours before that connections them to the community.

Every Friday football players on the varsity team come to Windsor STEM Academy and read to the elementary school students. 

“Not only is this a great thing for the elementary kids to engage and see where they can potentially become, but it is also a great leadership opportunity for them to learn life skills and how to give back and be productive citizens in our society,” said Head Football Coach, Eric Valentine. 

Valentine says this is the first year his players have participated in reading to the younger students. 

His says there are three goals in mind – promote literacy; teach his players about giving back; and forming a bond with the Linden-McKinley feeder schools. 

“They have to stay on top of their grades. Football is fun, but without grades you can’t play. Maintain their grades and keep doing good in school,” said sophomore student-athlete, D’Shawn McGlown. 

Many of these second graders will eventually become high school students at Linden McKinley STEM Academy. Valentine says some of these students look up to his players, that’s why it is important to instill in them the importance of reading.

“During our message we talked about coming to school, being proactive with our classwork and getting our work turned in on time, so we can get the grades to be a student athlete, encouraging those students to do that. That is also a piece for [my athletes] as well. They don’t just get to come here and we randomly pick a set of students, they are the top students that are doing what it takes to come here and they are striving to be able to come to these activities. So It’s been a win, win for both,” Valentine says.

A win on the field and off the field for this Columbus City Schools family.

“When we can come together as a family and a unit anything is possible. We would like to share those things and grow that message.”