For ten Baltimore City public high school students, a December weekend became one they will never forget. On December 6, 2013, Baltimore Ravens Safety, James Ihedigbo hosted a VIP weekend for ten students from Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood. The VIP weekend was a reward to the students for meeting an attendance challenge that Ihedigbo made to ten Baltimore City Public high schools, including Excel Academy.
The Diggz Attendance Challenge, challenged students to improve their attendance and academic progress. James “Diggz” Ihedigbo visited ten high schools where he spoke to the students about the importance of education, attendance, and presented his challenge. “The students at Excel Academy by far showed the greatest improvement,” said Debbie Silcox, school engagement specialist for Baltimore City Public Schools.
Ihedigbo is an advocate for academic excellence and works with students locally, nationally and internationally. The Diggz Attendance Challenge started in October 2013 and the winners were announced in December 2013. “Ultimately, I want students to understand that their academic progress and determination to excel is their personal platform and the foundation for their success,” said Ihedigbo.
The students were rewarded with a VIP dinner with Ravens players James Ihedigbo, Chykie Brown and Brandon Williams which included a limousine ride to all of the weekend’s activities. The students were also invited to M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Ravens play the Minnesota Vikings followed by a meet and greet with the team.
“This weekend was incredible and it helps me want to keep excelling,” said student Laronshay Harris. Each student received a plaque and was recognized during the dinner to share their future aspirations.
“The game showed me that you have to keep pushing until the end,” said
Jerrica Robinson, said tenth grader at Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood, as she reflected on the Ravens win over the Vikings in an intense match up. In the last two minutes of the game, the Ravens pushed out a win against their competitor.
“Our students have been working very hard to improve their attendance. What a great way to reward them! I am so proud and excited for our kids!” said Tammatha Woodhouse, Excel Academy principal.
The students who won the challenge include: Laronshay Harris, Donald Grant, Devin Green, Antonio Brown, Zakiyyah Worrell, M’Rhaiyah Mitchell, Raekwon Drake, Montasia Bland, Jerrica Robinson, and Alexis Nickens.
Sponsors of the Diggz Attendance Challenge weekend were Zbest Limo and Townhouse Kitchen & Bar.