As the internet and technology continue to transform education drastically, children in underprivileged areas often get left behind.
The New England Patriots Foundation is working to make sure that doesn't happen at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School in Dorchester, Mass., and four players spent Wednesday morning surprising students and teachers with the donation of 15 TouchView displays.
"Back in the fall, we selected MLK for our Adopt-A-School program. Do you remember that?" Patriots executive director of community affairs Andre Tippett said, addressing the morning assembly called for the entire school.
"It's been our goal to support the MLK School in any way possible. Throughout the school year, we've had the pleasure of getting to know all the students and faculty members here, and I must say, we're very impressed. It's been another challenging year, but with hard work and perseverance, we've all had a very successful school year. But school isn't over yet. There's still a lot of learning left to do, and that's why we're here today."
In a partnership with the Ockers Company, the Patriots Foundation was able to make the gift possible and offer a demonstration with the interactive screens to the audience.
Deatrich Wise Jr., Joejuan Wililams, Myles Bryant and Kendrick Bourne tagged along with two cheerleaders and Pat the Patriot, usting through the back doors of the auditorium to the excitement of kids in kindergarten through the eighth grade.
"I hope you take advantage of these," Bourne said, addressing the assembly. "It will really help with your education. Technology is really advanced, nowadays."
His teammates echoed similar statements of guidance and encouragement to stay in school, take advantage of every opportunity to learn, and enjoy this time in their life with friends.
The Patriots Foundation launched the Adopt-A-School program in fall 2020 to engage with classrooms across the region to promote education, healthy activity, and positivity in classrooms during the pandemic.
Patriots players and cheerleaders took part in biweekly video sessions with schools in the six states of New England, with the Foundation choosing the MLK School as its 2021-22 school.
Along with virtual learning sessions, the Patriots welcomed students on the first day of school with supplies for the year but wanted to enhance their learning experience in a big way before the end of this academic calendar.
"The students were so excited," MLK School principal Grace Coleman-Burns said after players left the assembly. "They're not going to stop talking about this for the rest of the year."