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SmashMouth 12-13-2012 05:58 PM

New Orleans Saints take Algiers students on Christmas shopping spree in Metairie
 
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Good grades really do pay off -- a philosophy that recently materialized for some Algiers honor students when several New Orleans Saints players took them on a holiday shopping spree. Students from four different middle schools across Orleans Parish gathered at Martin Behrman Charter School, 715 Opelousas Ave. in Algiers Point, to meet with defensive end Cameron Jordan, free safety Malcolm Jenkins, former Saints return specialist Michael Lewis, receiver Lance Moore and receiver Joe Morgan.

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Former Saints return specialist Michael Lewis hands Alice M. Harte Charter School student Tyriq Dominguez a trophy for his 4.0 GPA. The award ceremony was part of the Gifts 4 GPA Christmas program, organized by Zahkii Sports and the Speak Up Speak Out foundation and hosted on Dec. 11 at Martin Behrman Charter School in Algiers.

The festivities began as the players handed out trophies to the students with the highest GPA's, then continued as each player accompanied a group of about seven students on a shopping spree at the Target in Metairie.

The event was part of the Gifts 4 GPA Christmas program, organized by Zahkii Sports, a sports management and marketing firm based in New Orleans, and the Speak Up Speak Out foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating at-risk and underprivileged children.

The students who attended the shopping spree, about 36 in total, each received a $100 gift card to spend however they pleased. Most, under the advisement of their NFL attachés, purchased footballs, athletic apparel, and other sporting goods that eventually were cycled through the hands of each of the players for an autograph.

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Alice M. Harte Charter School student Tyriq Dominguez stands in a line at Target with an autographed football that he acquired while on a shopping spree with several Saints players. The shopping spree was part of the Gifts 4 GPA Christmas program, organized by Zahkii Sports and the Speak Up Speak Out foundation.

The prize jewel for 11-year-old Tyriq Dominguez of Algiers was a football he picked out and got the players to sign, he said. Dominguez, a student of Alice M. Harte Charter School, 4422 Gen. Meyer Ave. in Algiers, earned a spot on the shopping spree roster by finishing the semester with a 4.0 GPA.

Although the students' obvious rewards were of a material nature, they also received a more important intangible reward, Jenkins said.

"They get to know that their hard work isn't going unnoticed, and that's a good motivator," Jenkins said.

Zahkii Sports and the Speak Up Speak Out foundation hold the Gifts 4 GPA Christmas program every year, and "according to schools and principals," Zahkii Sports CEO Alvianne Brule said, the program increases awareness about the rewards for scholastic achievement.

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Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan picks out a scooter for a student whom he took to Target in Metairie for a holiday shopping spree. The event was part of the Gifts 4 GPA Christmas program, organized by Zahkii Sports and the Speak Up Speak Out foundation.

For rookie receiver Joe Morgan, the program's method of positive reinforcement is essential for underprivileged kids, he said.

"People used to sponsor my family when I was younger because we didn't really have the funds to get everything," Morgan said. "So, I understand how it feels just to get something when you don't really have much."

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bobdog86 12-13-2012 07:03 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints take Algiers students on Christmas shopping spree in Metairie
 
Awesome. Good to see young Morgan in the fold. I like it when the younger players are involved in programs like this. Merry X-mas

QBREES9 12-13-2012 09:09 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints take Algiers students on Christmas shopping spree in Metairie
 
That is a great story ! Hard work payoffs


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