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Sheehy Elementary Bucs Academy

On Monday, Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz led a spirited and impactful celebration at Sheehy Elementary School to recognize its partnership with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Monday, Sheehy Elementary School welcomed some very special guests to celebrate new ways to learn and exercise throughout the school year.

Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford, and more than a dozen Buccaneers players, including veterans Clinton McDonald and Keith Tandy, second-year players Will Gholston and Akeem Spence, and rookies Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins were joined at the school by Buccaneers Cheerleaders Emily, Jeannie and Norie, mascot Captain Fear, United Way Suncoast CEO Suzanne McCormick, Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools MaryEllen Elia and Hillsborough County School Board member Doretha Edgecomb to help inspire and celebrate the physical and educational experience of students at the Buccaneers Academy, one of 21 such institutions in the area.

"My family and the Buccaneers believe that all children are tremendously valuable, and they have the tools inside of them today to become successful," said Glazer Kassewitz. "It is our responsibility as leaders and educators to support and motivate the kids so they can see for themselves how capable and exceptional they are, so ultimately they can believe in themselves."

To kick off the morning, the group celebrated Sheehy Elementary officially being named a Buccaneers Academy, highlighted by the completion of the school's Buccaneers Fitness Zone, featuring a court cover for its outdoor recreation area. The Buccaneer-themed court cover inspires physical activity by allowing more children to play outside with less risk of sun exposure and heat exhaustion during their physical education periods.

"This does a lot for kids," said Seferian-Jenkins. "When you come out here, and the Bucs can partner with a school like this that needed something like this so they can keep out of the heat of the sun and can hang out for class and play, it's great."

Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz and the Bucs celebrated Sheehy Elementary School becoming a Buccaneers Academy. The team also built an outdoor classroom as part of United Way's Hometown Huddle.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Buccaneers Academy, the group also constructed an outdoor classroom, complete with a large outdoor chalkboard, new seating and updated landscaping for Sheehy Elementary. The project, which was completed by the Buccaneers players, cheerleaders, students, and volunteers from United Way Suncoast, was part of the team's Hometown Huddle efforts.

This is the 16th annual NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle, a league-wide day of service where NFL coaches, players, and executives are helping members of their community PLAY 60 by building fitness zones and playgrounds, hosting youth football clinics, and help kids get active for 60 minutes a day as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and wellness campaign.

"We want to be here for the young kids like this because we remember when we were that age and how big of an impact football players and people that were older than us had," said Seferian-Jenkins. "When you have an opportunity to come back and give back, especially to younger kids, there's no substitute for it. We wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

As part of the Buccaneers' 2014 Hometown Huddle efforts, four additional Buccaneers Academy schools will receive school projects through a $1,000 grant this season, including:

• Mort Elementary School (Reading Gazebo)
• Lanier Elementary School (Support for Running Club and Color Run Event)
• Lockhart Elementary School (Creating an Outdoor Fitness Challenge Course)
• Twin Lakes Elementary School (Buddy Books partner reading program)

United Way Suncoast staff, volunteers and trusted community partners serve DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. The United Way-Buccaneers collaboration is one example of such efforts, as the team plays an active role in community development through a variety of youth health and education initiatives, family outreach, and military support involving players, coaches, cheerleaders, alumni, and staff.

A focus of the team's community engagement are Buccaneers Academies, an educational initiative which is impacting more than 12,000 students and aims to inspire, equip, and celebrate students through incentive-based programs and monthly challenges that provide fun and motivating opportunities to learn. Throughout the school year, lesson plans that encourage good behavior, reading, writing, and healthy lifestyles are implemented with each of the 21 Buccaneers Academies in Hillsborough County.

"This is an incredible partnership," added Elia. "Every time you see the Bucs, every time you see an advertisement, every time you see a big sign, all of you need to know that they're the ones that made this happen at Sheehy Elementary, and we are so grateful."

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