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FORMER MEMBERS OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS AND DETROIT PISTONS AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER SPEAK TO STUDENTS AT SUCCESS ACADEMY EVENT 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:

Laura Wilker, 332-895-2237
[email protected]org

Ann Powell, 646-894-6407
[email protected]org 

FORMER MEMBERS OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS AND DETROIT PISTONS AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER SPEAK TO STUDENTS AT SUCCESS ACADEMY EVENT 

Groundbreaking Professional Black Athletes Exhort Students to Study Hard, Call on New York State to Lift the Charter Cap So Kids Can “Pursue Their Dreams”

Brooklyn, NY, February 28, 2022 — When three-time Olympic medal winner Diane Dixon and former Detroit Piston NBA Champion Rick Mahorn stepped onto Success Academy Bed-Stuy’s basketball court on Thursday, nearly 200 middle schoolers roared with delight. The 6 foot 10 inch Mahorn and more petite Brooklyn native Dixon came at the invitation of A.B. Whitfield, himself a former player with Montreal Alouettes, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. The trio spoke about their experiences, encouraged the students to stay engaged in their educations, and expressed support for lifting the charter cap. 

“More kids need opportunities to pursue their dreams. All parents should be able to send their children to a school of their choice, whether that’s the Trey Whitfield School, or a charter school like Success Academy. New York elected officials should lift the charter cap, and allow more schools to open,” said A.B. Whitfield in his remarks. Whitfield, whose love of sports morphed into a second career as a photographer and educator, is co-founder and COO of the Trey Whitfield School in Brooklyn.

This special celebration of former professional athletes of color capped off events throughout the network commemorating Black History Month. Each student who attended received a copy of Whitfield’s Pictorial History of the CIAA Professionals 1950-1984, which documents the earliest CIAA athletes as they entered Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and competed in the Olympics from the 1950s to 1984. 

After an hour of speaking, giving away footballs and basketballs, and signing autographs, Mahorn answered a final question.

“What’s my motivation in life? I don’t want to lose. I compete at a high level. I’m here to tell you that you can do it too. If you want something in your life, make sure you put in your all and prepare. Because life is nothing but preparation.”

Success Academy Bedford-Stuveysant Middle School opened in 2015 and enrolls scholars in grades 5-8. Academically, BSMS is one of the top performing middle schools in all of NYC — 99% of students passed the state math exam and 94% passed the ELA exam, prior to the pandemic. The school hosts one of SA’s two Selective Soccer programs, as well as a Selective Chess Program, in addition to a basketball team, general sports and fitness programs, dance, computer science and art. 

Rick Mahorn gives a basketball to an SA scholar.

Left to Right:  A.B. Whitfield, Soul Bazarkay (SA BSMS scholar), Diane Dixon, Rick Mahorn.

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About Success Academy 

Since its founding in 2006, Success Academy has created the highest-performing public school district in New York state, and a national model of access to excellence for children across all demographics. We currently enroll over 20,000 children in our 47 elementary, middle, and high schools. The majority of Success Academy scholars are children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods, admitted through a random public lottery. Our distinctive K-12 approach, designed as a holistic thirteen-year educational trajectory, leads to student outcomes that outpace even those in affluent suburban schools. To date, 100% of SA’s graduates have been accepted to college, many to highly selective institutions. Most are the first in their families to have the opportunity for higher education. We regularly share our groundbreaking curriculum and methods with educators and school leaders across the country. By scaling excellence and reigniting the civic mission of education, Success Academy is leading a movement to reinvent public education. All children can thrive and achieve in school, in college, and in life — Success Academy students and teachers prove it every day.

For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.

About A.B. Whitfield

Argle (“A.B.”) Whitfield was a highly accomplished scholastic and collegiate athlete. At Elizabeth City State University (now part of the University of North Carolina system), he was a three sport athlete, four-year starter on the Vikings’ football team, four-year star of track and field team, and captain of the wrestling team. He earned recognition from the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), one of America’s oldest athletic conferences, mostly consisting of historically black colleges and universities; Whitfield received All-CIAA honors in football, wrestling, and track and field. Upon graduation, he played professional football with the Montreal Alouettes, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, & Denver Broncos.

As a photojournalist, Whitfield has chronicled the African American collegiate and professional athlete in a 500-page volume: A Pictorial History of CIAA Professionals from 1950-1984. With hundreds of photographs and facts, the book documents the earliest CIAA athletes as they entered Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and competed in the Olympics from the 1950s to 1984. Mr. Whitfield is now an educator and co-founder of the Trey Whitfield School.  

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