Everyone knows that De’Ron Hunter is an outstanding young man. His academic reputation is strong, and his 4th grade teacher enjoys having him in her class. When asked, he will casually say, “Well, usually I get A’s and B’s on my report card.” De’Ron has perfect attendance at soccer practice, and has gotten all “5’s” on his Work to Play form this year! His biggest challenge at the moment is mastering the moves like the Tuck and Under and the Messi well enough to get past his friend, Dayed (pictured). As a second year player on Daley Academy’s Urban Initiatives team, De’Ron finds himself as a little bit more of a leader. “Sometimes I help out the new players by explaining the games to them. Also, I know to go easy on them when we play games like Knockout…but not too easy.”
Recently, Daley Academy sent out progress reports for parents, to see their students’ grades in preparation for Parent-Teacher Conferences. Before soccer practice, Coach April was hanging out in front of the school with some of the players, looking over some good grades and some unfortunate ones. De’Ron burst out of the building, waving his yellow progress report. “Coach April! I finally did it! I got all A’s!” Even though everyone knows De’Ron as a good student, he was still very proud to have gotten straight A’s, and he knew that Coach April would be excited for him as well.
The Work to Play program inspires students like De’Ron differently than it might for a student who needs extra motivation to do well in the classroom. De’Ron would do his homework anyway, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. The Work to Play program inspires De’Ron because it celebrates him outside the classroom for being a good student. Students often feel pressured not to be too smart, or do too well, and might be teased or bullied for being overachievers. Urban Initiatives helps build a team of friends who play soccer together and feel really good about striving for academic success.