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News » Their Winning Moments

Their Winning Moments

Their Winning Moments
Students get a visit from NFL players for an essay contest.



WEST TAMPA - Roselyn Martinez sat front and center with a wide grin. She had Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Luke McCown on one side of her and free safety Tanard Jackson on the other.

By the end of Friday morning's meeting with the athletes, the West Tampa Elementary School fifth-grader's T-shirt had autographs from the two Football players.

McCown and Jackson visited Martinez's class because her essay was among 10 winners in Hillsborough County.

At West Tampa Elementary, Martinez, 12, wrote one of the 10 winning essays. It focused on teaching her mother English. Her mother, Maria Martinez, of West Tampa, is a native of Cuba.

Roselyn Martinez said her mother is special to her and learning the language would help her at work and in completing bank transactions.

Roselyn Martinez, who wants to write children's books, said she was overwhelmed by the award and by meeting the two Football players.

"It was extremely fantastic," Roselyn Martinez said. "It was an exciting moment. They are really exciting people because of their profession and what they do."

For 14 years the NFL PLAYERS, the marketing arm of the NFL Players Association, has sponsored an essay contest for fifth-graders in the city that is hosting the Super Bowl. The title of the essay is My Winning Moment. Two professional Football players from the local team visit the winning students' classrooms.

The overall winning essay was written by Shayla Lewkowiez, who attends Northwest Elementary School in Tampa. Lewkowiez will get to interview players during Super Bowl week and write stories for the Weekly Reader and NFLPLAYERS.com, said Lara Potter, NFL PLAYERS assistant vice president for communications.

In Martinez's class, the students asked McCown and Jackson questions about playing Football, their hobbies and what they enjoy reading.

Both players said they enjoy reaching out to the students and letting them see the importance of an education.

"It is fantastic for us," McCown said. "I get the joy of seeing the excitement in their faces."

Martinez's teacher, Cheryl Metcalf, said the experience helps motivate the students.

"I think it is very encouraging for their writing," Metcalf said.


My mom is one of the most important people in my life. If she needs help with anything, there I am. She does so much for us and I love her although I don't tell her all the time like I should. Unfortunately she does not know English. So I offered to help her learn English.

I started by teaching the alphabet first. When I'm helping her I'm not thinking of getting a reward. I'm thinking of the day someone calls on the phone that speaks English, and instead of saying I don't speak English, she can actually say "Hi! How may I help you?" I think that learning English for my mom is very important, so it is important to me too. I think she can do it?No! I don't think, I know! She can do whatever she puts her mind to.

And that is true because my mom can now say the whole alphabet in Spanish and English. She now talks English and also writes some too. I am so happy and proud of her I can't even explain! This is one of my winning moments.

Roselyn Martinez

Reporter Jos? Pati?o Girona can be reached at (813) 259-7659.

Photo credit: Tribune photos by JOS? PATI?O GIRONA

Photo: Tampa Bay Bucs free safety Tanard Jackson signs a Football for Donte Burnett, 12, a fifth-grader at West Tampa Elementary.

Photo: Buccaneers quarterback Luke McCown, left, and free safety Tanard Jackson pose with West Tampa Elementary fifth-grader Roselyn Martinez. Martinez was one of 10 fifth-graders to win an essay contest.

Copyright ? 2009, The Tampa Tribune and may not be republished without permission. E-mail library@tampatrib.com

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 29, 2009

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