We are proud to say one of our education stories caught the attention of Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley received an email from Brown's mother, Patrice Brown, December 12th, stating a story on the Urban Teacher Academy was "heartfelt" and as a result of hearing our coverage her son is adopting the inaugural freshman class. Eileen was the only reporter on hand as the Bills player visited McKinley High School.
Preston Brown appeared inside McKinley High School's auditorium wearing a Bills jersey and Bills knit hat. Students who were recently featured as the first-ever class of the new Urban Teacher Academy at McKinley had no idea what to expect.
Brown first handed out Bills knit hats to more than a dozen students, then he delivered iPads to them, which brought tears to some of the students.
“And I think it is a great program – so to get this first class started off with a little bit – something they can use to get their work done,” Brown explained.
The Urban Teacher Academy is for students who are interested in becoming future educators.
Brown tells WBFO after hearing our story about the program, he wanted to support the students’ efforts.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher – seeing my dad be a teacher in the Cincinnati Public Schools – I always wanted to be out helping kids and now that I am in the NFL I think I have a platform now where I can give kids some advice and help them throughout the day,” Brown said.
WBFO asked Brown if he might switch to teaching at the end of his football career.
“Yeah, probably, I mean I want to do something to help kids – if it’s coaching, teaching – anything I do is going to be some kind of this form, so I went to school to be a teacher, so just the whole program – I really gravitated toward it,” Brown answered.
Interim principal Marck Abraham was very excited to know the player wanted to give back to students for their passion for education.
“Humbling and just knowing that there’s people that just truly, genuinely care about our students here at Buffalo Public Schools. It’s phenomenal,” Abraham replied.
“I am still shocked – I am still so shocked” declared one of the students.
I didn’t know it was going to be like this – oh my goodness!” she stated in her excitement of receiving an iPad from the Bills player.
“My heart was pounding so hard,” responded another student.
It was a special early Christmas gift for the students. Brown also took time to talk with them and offered autographs.
Here is the email we received on December 12, 2017 from Brown's mother:
Trust you are well. Your piece on the Urban Teachers Academy was extremely well presented and heartfelt.
As a result of your coverage my son Preston Brown, starting middle linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, plans to "adopt" the inaugural freshman class and present tablets to each of the 20 students as Christmas gifts. He plans to surprise them at McKinley HS next Tuesday Dec 19th @ 1:30 p.m.
I've spoken to Felice, their teacher and the school principal to share the good news. They are so appreciative and excited for the students.
Just want you to know your coverage of this pioneering program and its amazing young participants is producing more favor.
Warmly, Patrice Brown