DT Anthony McFarland went classroom to classroom Tuesday at two middle schools, sharing details of his "I Can Wait" program
A little over a month ago, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Anthony "Booger" McFarland visited Sligh and Williams Middle Schools to introduce students to his "I Can Wait" program. This Tuesday, he returned to both schools with a more direct approach. Instead of addressing the whole school at a single assembly, McFarland spoke one at a time with individual classrooms about the "I Can Wait" program.
McFarland began the day by addressing Barbara Long's sixth grade class and refreshing their memories as to what his program was all about – in a nutshell, good decision-making. As McFarland told the students, many of the crucial decisions they make will occur when they are not surrounded by teachers or parents for guidance.
With that in mind, McFarland stresses the importance of supplying today's youth with the facts. Again and again, McFarland told his audience: "Get the facts before you act."
"It's very important (to get the facts), because smart kids make smart decisions," said McFarland. "I feel that if you get the kids the facts, they'll make smart decisions about the four majors factors that I talk about, which are drugs, sex, alcohol and tobacco."
During the visit, McFarland also spoke about the importance of education and presented each of the classrooms he visited with a Buccaneers Graduates poster, which features all of the Buccaneers players that have earned their degrees. McFarland is one of the 33 Bucs on the poster.
"One day I'm going to have to take this jersey off because I won't be able to play professional football anymore," said McFarland. "And when that day comes, I'll be sad, but I'll also be prepared to begin my new life and my degree will help me achieve the goals I have set for myself for after football."
After visiting the classes of teachers Lora Johnson, Candace Krewer, Tim Lauterwasser, Liz Hessel and Samantha Maddox at Sligh, McFarland set of for his second adopted school, Williams.
Upon arriving at Williams, McFarland was whisked to Jonathon Watson's classroom, where he once again delivered his message about doing the right thing and making the right choices in life. McFarland also invited the kids to learn more about the "I Can Wait" program by filling out information cards and turning them in to their teachers.
Students who filled out the cards will receive an informational packet from the "I Can Wait" Foundation that tells them how they can become a member of the "I Can Wait" team. By becoming a team member, the students will receive information about drugs, sex, alcohol and tobacco, a membership card, an "I Can Wait" t-shirt and the opportunity to attend a Buccaneers regular season home game as a part of the "Booger's Bucs Can Wait" group.
In addition to speaking to Mr. Watson's class, McFarland visited the classrooms of Sharon Mladucky, Amy Czerepak, Nancy Hey and Kim Speed and took time to sign the Williams Middle School S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere) pledge.
"This is an age where they're kind of on the fence and they could go either way," McFarland said of the middle school students. "We just want to make sure they stay on the right side of that fence. When you're at a young age, you can be swayed very easily, so this is to make sure that they continue to make the right decisions."
Williams Middle School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Al Dixon agreed with McFarland and felt that his message and impact would be felt by all of the students.
"I really feel that it's an honor and a pleasure to have him come by and really be committed," said Wilson. "His commitment to children and his advocacy for children to do the right thing really comes through. He knows what the children want to hear and he's saying what they need to hear and they are all in tune. I can see him being a great influence in our educational system."