Former NY Jet & AFL Player Visit                     Middle School

 

 

OCTOBER 22, 2010, 5:31 PM

BY JEFF FRANKEL OF BLOOMFIELD LIFE

 

 

 

BLOOMFIELD — Eighth graders were treated to lessons in leadership

and respect with the help of former New York Jet Bobby Jackson and  

Friday morning.

 

Former New York Jets star Bobby Jackson addresses Bloomfield Middle 

School students Oct. 22 as part of the "Celebrity Stop Bullying and 

Childhood Obesity Leadership Tour."  The initiative promotes leadership,

anti-bullying, health, fitness and wellness, literacy, anti-drugs and tolerance.

 

A cornerback with the Jets from 1977 to 1985, Jackson was joined by Duane West, an Arena Football League alum from Irvington turned motivational speaker.  The pair shared stories of their humble beginnings and encouraged students to respect themselves and others.

 

Former New York Jet Bobby Jackson and Arena League alum Duane West addressed Bloomfield Middle School (BMS) students Oct. 22 as part of the "Celebrity Stop Bullying and Childhood Obesity Leadership Tour."  The initiative promotes leadership, antibullying, health, fitness and wellness, literacy, anti-drugs and tolerance.  From left are West, BMS Assistant Principal Annette Baker, BMS Principal Salvatore Goncalves and Jackson with the BMS mascot following the assembly.

 

"I'm not going to stand here and say I'm great," said Jackson, "because I'm not. I decided to be special."  Jackson and West appeared at Bloomfield Middle School (BMS) Oct. 22 to spread their message as part of a nationwide tour, entitled "Celebrity Stop Bullying and Childhood Obesity National School Leadership."

 

"We as a school were absolutely thrilled that Duane West and Bobby Jackson could motivate our students," said Assistant BMS Principal Annette Baker.  "The children in the hallways have been buzzing about it."

 

Leaping directly from the floor onto the auditorium stage, West was very animated, exhibiting showman-like qualities.  Encouraging audience participation, West stressed the importance of respecting others.  "No matter what color your hair is, how tall or short you are or what country you come from, you are all winners," he said.  West also visited the school's seventh grade classes following the assembly.

 

Jackson came from very modest roots, growing up in Georgia during the 1950s. Hard work and determination landed him at Florida State University where he played defensive back for the Seminoles.  A sixth-round draft selection by the Jets, he went on to spend his entire career with the green and white.  "Stick with a plan, tweak it a little bit, and go there," he said.  The BMS Home and School Association sponsored the event.  The middle school often recruits current and former athletes to encourage their children, Baker said.

 

"We're happy when anyone comes into this school and can relate to our students and how to excel academically," she said. "He has reinforced the message we give to our students every day."  Like Jackson, West grew up in a single-parent household.  Homeless for a short time during his youth, he was also borderline illiterate.  With help from teachers and personal motivation, West graduated college and played professional football, though he never made it to the National Football League.

 

On Oct. 22, he passed his experiences and knowledge in hopes of helping others.  "I do this because I love students and I love children," he said. "You guys are the future. You guys have to dig deep to be the future.  "When you think about life is just about you, you will fail," West added. "You guys have to make good decisions with your life."

 

E-mail: frankel@northjersey.com