Falcons QB Donates Tickets, Funds To St. Peter Claver
Published: November 22, 2007
DECATUR—The Harrington Family Foundation and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington have awarded St. Peter Claver Regional School’s music program with a $2,500 donation and given a group of students a day at the Dome.
The money was donated following a relationship established through the Atlanta Falcons Extra Yard Partnership program, which allows Harrington and the foundation to purchase a group of tickets to each Falcons home game and give them to young students in the area.
Back in August, before training camp had even begun for the Falcons, St. Peter Claver received a phone call from John Harrington, the quarterback’s father, saying they had chosen the Catholic school to participate in the program. As a player new to Atlanta, Joey and the Harrington Family Foundation had participated in similar programs in Detroit and Miami; they were pleased to be offered the same opportunity in Atlanta.
Tickets to the Nov. 4 NFL match-up between the Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers were awarded to 16 Peter Claver middle school students.
Because of the limited number of tickets available, the school decided that for a student to become eligible to be selected, they had to maintain an academic average above 82 and conduct grade above 80. While 51 percent of the middle school student body became eligible for the gift, nine sixth-graders and seven seventh-graders, the highest achievers, earned the prize. The students also received a T-shirt and sat in a special section.
“For many students this was their first professional football game so they found the experience very exciting,” said Linda Turner-Dash, a St. Peter Claver middle school teacher, who coordinated the awarding of the tickets with the other middle school teachers. “For a couple of students this was their first football game of any sort.”
The students thought they brought the Falcons good luck as they won the game.
The Harrington family has a strong connection with Catholic education. Harrington and his brothers all attended Catholic schools in Portland, Ore., as did his wife, Emily. They grew up within the context of a Catholic family seeing lots of cousins at family gatherings where grandparents were at the head of the table passing on their values as well as sharing a meal.
When Harrington received his first NFL contract to play for the Detroit Lions in 2002, Joey and his family took a portion of his salary to establish the Harrington Family Foundation in perpetuity.
In addition to the game tickets, the Harrington Family Foundation donated $2,500 to St. Peter Claver to enhance the school’s music program. Harrington is a talented jazz pianist and wants to share musical opportunities with students, in addition to sports.
“The students were very motivated to keep their academic and conduct grades up,” said Turner-Dash. “To make sure they were still on track, many students checked in daily with the homeroom teacher to make sure they were still in the running.”