Published on Tue., August 3, 2010

Lynchburg City Schools’ academic support for its high school athletes received a shot in the arm with news that the program will receive a grant of $9,500 from the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust. This grant will provide more opportunities for the division’s student-athletes to excel in the classroom and on the playing field.

For the past two years, the local program was a part of the National Football Foundation's Play It Smart, a highly successful youth development program designed to improve academic achievement, citizenship and life-skills development among student-athletes from urban environments throughout the country. Lynchburg's program was uniquely funded through a combination of support from the National Football Foundation, local donors, and the school division's operating budget.

While local support for the program never waivered, state-level funding reductions for K-12 education and the scheduled end of the National Football Foundation's support for the program necessitated changes in the delivery of services to students. Next year, a single academic athletic coach, Maggie Davis, has been selected through an interview process to assist athletes from both high schools.

The goals of the program will focus on academic achievement and service to the community. While football players are the athletes given first priority Ms. Davis will work with athletes from other sports as well, as requested. Specifically, by their senior year athletes will be on schedule to graduate on time, will have completed the SAT or ACT at least one time, and will have applied to at least one institution of higher education. Additionally, student-athletes will be given opportunities to participate in various community service projects. In its first two years, the program has made a positive difference in student-athletes' lives as students' grade point averages have risen and a higher percentage of graduates have been accepted to post-secondary programs.

For the second consecutive year, the student athletes will benefit from the funding support of the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust. Grant funding will provide opportunities for student-athletes to visit college campuses, complete the SAT and ACT tests, and complete college applications. Funding will also help cover the operating expenses of the program.

The student-athletes at the city's two public high schools thank and recognize the Greater Lynchburg Community Trust for its support. If members of the community are interested in helping support the program and its ideals, please contact Maggie Davis through either E. C. Glass High School (522-3712) or Heritage High School (582-1147).

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