On Sunday, Dec. 19, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints for a primetime NFC South matchup, six local high school students will be presented with college scholarships through the Mike Evans Family Foundation's Catch for Christmas Scholarship Program. With support from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation Social Justice Fund and AdventHealth, each of the six Catch for Christmas Scholarship recipients will be awarded Florida Prepaid Four-Year University Plans valued at $23,500 each.
During a break in play in the first quarter, Super Bowl Champion and three-time Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee Mike Evans and his wife, Ashli, will announce the scholarship and congratulate the recipients through a special video message played on the Raymond James Stadium BUCVISION boards. The recipients – Gabriel Brewer, Gabriella Feagle, Maria Huezo, Frank Liu, Tammy Nguyen and Taliah Wimbush – high school seniors from the East Tampa community who applied for the scholarship and were selected through the Hillsborough Education Foundation, will attend the game and be recognized in front of the crowd from the stadium's pirate ship.
"I want kids to know that if they work hard, they will be rewarded," said Mike Evans. "If I didn't get a scholarship for football, I probably wouldn't have been able to go to college, so it means a lot to be able to make a difference like this."
Through the Mike Evans Family Foundation, the Evans family awards annual college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are hardworking and well-rounded but who may not have the opportunity to attend college because of financial reasons. Since the start of the Mike Evans Family Foundation in 2017, they have helped fund dozens of college scholarships so students from all over the U.S. can pursue their education and career goals.
As the Buccaneers' Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award nominee, Evans and the Mike Evans Family Foundation are currently participating in Nationwide's 7th annual Charity Challenge, a social media campaign designed to support and promote team nominees. Fans can vote for Evans on Twitter
by using #WPMOYChallenge Evans or #WPMOYChallenge @MikeEvans13_ .The player whose unique hashtag is used the most between December 7 and January 17 will receive a $25,000 contribution to his charity of choice, while the second and third place finishers will receive $10,000 and $5,000 donations, all courtesy of Nationwide. In addition, Nationwide will donate $10,000 to the first nominee to receive 1 million votes. More information about the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, including Charity Challenge details and official rules, can be found at http://www.nfl.com/manoftheyear.