January 24, 2012

Coolidge SHS Football Team Wins GPA Challenge 

Program Receives $10,000 from Redskins Safety Oshiomogho ‘OJ’ Atogwe and NFL

Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202-535-1096

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Under the leadership of Coach Natalie Randolph, members of the Coolidge Senior High School football team strive to compete at the highest levels on the gridiron and in the classroom. So, when Washington Redskins safety Oshiomogho “OJ” Atogwe challenged DC-area football programs to compete for highest grade-point average during the fall, the Coolidge Colts stepped up their game and reached their goal.

The Oshiomogho Atogwe I Am Foundation of the Institute for Science and Health will present Coolidge SHS with a check for $10,000 ($5,000 from the Oshiomogho Atogwe I Am Foundation and an additional $5,000 from the NFL as part of a matching grant program) for winning the challenge with a 3.068 team GPA. Warren County High School of Virginia, the runner up with a 3.060 GPA, will receive a check for $5,000.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray congratulated the Coolidge Colts for their team effort in earning this academic achievement and Atogwe for his initiative in presenting a challenge that will have benefits beyond high school sports.  

“I’m immensely proud of the Coolidge Senior High School football team for winning this challenge, but I’m even prouder of them for their 3.068 team GPA,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “Winning, both on and off the field is great, but an education is something that transcends winning and losing. I’d like to thank Oshiomogho Atogwe and the NFL for pushing young athletes to excel athletically and academically.”

Atogwe, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent prior to the 2011 season, said football is a game that develops strong character and fitness of both mind and body.

“Oftentimes, what separates a good player from a great player is the amount of preparation and study they put into understanding the mental side of football,” Atogwe said. “The same holds true for excellence in the classroom; you have to be committed and prepared to give your best effort.”

Through an approach that considers the players’ lives beyond high school and football, Coach Randolph motivates students to succeed in the classroom and sacrifices her time to ensure that her players develop strong characters and academic strength – as well as football skills. 

“[Academics] is one of the main points of the program and what we stress to [players]. We tell them there is a lot of life after football and what they do in the future is most important,” Coach Randolph said. “Everyone worked so hard for this.”

Randolph said everyone who comes in contact with her players helped the team reach its goal – from the assistant coaches, to administrators, teachers and other players. During the season, the team holds study halls Mondays through Thursdays before practice to ensure students have completed their class work.

“It’s a group effort,” Randolph said. “I tell them, ‘Every little bit counts.’”

Grant awards will be earmarked for non-salary/non-personnel related costs including the purchase of football field equipment, uniforms, helmets and field refurbishment projects.

“I am proud to support the academic efforts of these local student athletes and congratulate them on their great work,” said Atogwe, works to make a difference in people’s lives through his work with local schools and by donating his time and money to various charitable causes.

The Oshiomogho Atogwe I Am Foundation of the Institute for Science and Health is making an impact in the lives of at-risk youth with an emphasis on programs in the areas of education, literacy and wellness. For more information on the Oshiomogho Atogwe I Am Foundation, call 314-369-4074 or email tiffwilson@aol.com.

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