February 3, 2021
SBLV Digital Divide Event at
Jefferson High School
The NFL typically spends a lot of time and money in the host Super Bowl community creating opportunities for students and community members to engage with athletes, league executives and business leaders.
In the shadows of Raymond James Stadium, the students of Thomas Jefferson High School participated in a digital divide event aimed at increasing access to computer technology and teaching technical computer skills.
The panelists were:
- Steve Wyche (SW)—NFL Network (Host)
- Jill Jones (JJ)–James Weldon Johnson Foundation
- Ryan Nece (RN)—former TB Super Bowl Champion, Managing Director, Next Flow Capital
- Ashley Bell (AB)—Lawyer
- Artis Stephens (AS)—President/CEO, Big Brothers/Big Sisters
- Demario Davis (DD)—New Orleans Linebacker
Although they were not able to appear live, the panelists shared their insights with the students with some interesting perspectives:
Some of the notes from the presentation are below, by initials:
Tatianna, a student from Jefferson HS, talked about how she used her dollars and money to support black owned businesses.
- DD: Where you open bank accounts is important. Using a black-owned bank helps that bank make more loans back to the community. He coaches HS players in 7×7 football. He believes that you can/should become an influencer first, and an athlete second. (SPN Editorial: We believe you need the platform of being successful to maximize your influence but you should not wait until you are successful to work on developing leadership traits).
- JJ: Have to push through the fear and go after your dreams. Her grandfather was an entrepreneur
- AB: Black banks lost every time there is an enormous downturn. One great example is what the NBA and Atlanta Hawks did by working with a black-owned bank to give them a strong customer and additional credit-worthiness.
- AS: Never be a one-trick pony. Always keep learning to make yourself better.
- SW: The NFL made a donation of $50,000 to the school to help curb the digital divide.
- Kim Joel, Hillsborough County: Thankful for the gift and excited to share a surprise for the kids.
Our overall impression is that the students were very engaged and appreciated the opportunity to learn even though they were experiencing it on a Zoom screen instead of in-person. As a great reward, the students were given these great BOSE headphones, a terrific gift for their participation.