TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization received a standing ovation from a crowd of teachers on Monday afternoon. That applause did not result from a play on the field but, rather, from a play in the community.
“They were overwhelmed with excitement, as we were as well,” said Tara Battiato, the Buccaneers’ Vice President of Community Impact.
She admitted this particular project started to take shape at the beginning of the year. It is tied to the team’s Social Justice Initiative as well as the Youth Leadership Program.
“We began talking about our Digital Divide Grant from Verizon around the Super Bowl so we worked with Verizon and the NFL,” said Battiato. “To see it come to fruition and to have the excitement of the teachers today has been really great.”
The Buccaneers surprised the teaches at Young Middle Magnet School in Tampa with more than $50,000 in new technology. The donation included more than 100 devices intended to help the teachers and the students enhance the overall learning experience in the classroom.
“This is really a game-changer for us,” said the principal, Dr. Henrissa Berry, “because it allows us to get close to the one-to-one ratio for our students and devices. Even more importantly, it allows our teachers to be able to use all of the different online resources to supplement their instruction in the classroom without having to go to the labs and travel with their classes from place to place.”
Berry shared the plans for the new technology.
“We prioritized our English and math classes and they currently have devices within their departments so, now, we get to transition and spread the wealth to our science and social studies departments, who have been waiting on the same level of access,” explained Berry. “We are ready. The teachers are ready.”
Yes, the teachers are certainly excited to get their hands on the new equipment.
“They have said they are ready. They are ready to get their carts in their rooms and utilize the devices with their students,” said Berry. “My social studies teacher is like, ‘Give it to me! I am ready!’ so it is just an opportunity that we could not have had without the Buccaneers’ support and so we are eternally grateful for it, eternally grateful.”
The announcement brought the teachers to their feet clapping and cheering for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the changes they are implementing in this community.
“Our Youth Leadership Program is truly the focal point of this initiative,” said Battiato, “and it is here at Young in Tampa so, to be able to provide these teachers with the resources that will help our students, our mentees, succeed alongside our players and our staff, it is very exciting.”