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Jets Partner with Cardozo to Create HS Football Team


*Jets EVP and PENCIL Board Member and Partner Matt Higgins, along with Jets Players Jerricho Cotchery and Rob Turner, present $12,500 check to Cardozo High School and announce creation of $5,000 PSAL college scholarship

Jets also continue annual donation of $100,000 to PSAL High School Football for Heads Up! Helmet Grant and CHAMPS Middle School Flag Football Program*

New York City Schools Deputy Chancellor, Santiago Taveras, the New York Jets and PENCIL announced today the creation of a new football team at Cardozo High School in Queens. Jets Executive Vice President of Business Operations Matt Higgins along with Jets players Jerricho Cotchery and Rob Turner presented a check for $12,500 to Cardozo High School to help begin a new football team at the school. In addition, the Jets announced the creation of a new $5,000 college scholarship for a Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) athlete who excels on the field as well as in the classroom. Finally, the Jets will also continue their annual $100,000 donation through the National Football League's Youth Football Fund to the Heads Up! helmet and C.H.A.M.P.S. middle school flag football programs.

As a member of PENCIL's Board of Directors and a Partner in its Partnership Program, Matt Higgins partnered with his alma mater Benjamin Cardozo High School this year to help launch Cardozo's first football team. "We are excited to partner with Cardozo on a number of levels," said Higgins. "Not only are we helping to grow the athletic program with the creation of this football team, but the scholarship is awarded on both academic and athletic excellence, a balance that we stress in all of our youth efforts throughout the tri-state area."

In addition, Higgins is working with the principal to develop a communications team tasked with media relations, marketing, branding, and social networking efforts.  The goal is to develop a streamlined approach to gathering relevant and news-worthy information about the school and communicate it to a broader audience.

"Thanks to the New York Jets, our students are able to compete for a new college scholarship," Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Santiago Taveras said. "The Jets have been strong partners and have helped increase students' physical activity opportunities through our C.H.A.M.P.S. and PSAL programs as we work to raise student achievement in and outside of the classroom."

"Benjamin Cardozo High School is recognized for its academic achievements, its ability to serve all students and with this donation we also hope to be known for our prowess on the gridiron," said Cardozo High School principal Gerald Martori. "Our school is overjoyed to receive such a generous donation from the Jets to start our own football team. This is especially meaningful coming from Matt Higgins, a Cardozo alumnus, and Jets players Jerricho Cotchery and Rob Turner."
In 2001 the New York Jets formed a community partnership with the PSAL to provide support to New York City public school football programs. The Jets and the PSAL expanded this partnership in 2005 and titled it Heads Up!. Through an annual matching grant from the NFL's Youth Football Fund, the New York Jets donate $100,000 to the PSAL's football programs. This grant has helped to create nine new and developmental football teams and expand the C.H.A.M.P.S. Middle School Flag Football League to over 75 programs throughout the New York City public school system. Beyond these grants, the Jets continue to support the PSAL in a variety of other ways including honoring the PSAL football champions at a home game during the NFL season.
Through the Department of Education's C.H.A.M.P.S. Middle School Sport and Fitness League, students are empowered to become Cooperative, Healthy, Active, Motivated, Positive Students—for life.  Regardless of athletic ability, student participants in C.H.A.M.P.S. have opportunities to engage in a wide variety of physical activities before or after school, including traditional and non-traditional sports, along with fitness activities that can be maintained long after their school days are over.

PENCIL inspires innovative solutions to the challenges facing New York City public schools by building and supporting customized relationships between business leaders and principals.  By bringing together the best ideas, resources and talent across sectors, we develop strong leaders, build school capacity, enhance student learning, and inspire greater community and corporate support, to create real change in our City's schools.  For more information, visit or call 646-638-0565.

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