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Bryan County Middle School gets donation from NFL star

POSTED: April 10, 2018 9:46 a.m.

The Bryan County Middle School volleyball and basketball teams will have a new look next year.

The Redskins were recently notified they had received a grant of nearly $9,000 for new uniforms and balls from the JJ Watt Foundation, run by the star defensive end of the Houston Texans.

Principal Elizabeth Raeburn called it an “outstanding day for scholar-athletes” at the school.

The foundation, started in 2011, is specifically for middle school athletic programs in schools where at least 60 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. It has donated more than $4 million overall, including nearly $260,000 this year.

Raeburn said Brent Anderson, a physical education teacher and boys’ head basketball coach at Bryan County High School, found out about the grant.

“He came to me about a grant opportunity he found that would help support equipment needs and totally took the lead,” she said. “The staff here is working relentlessly to provide elite opportunities in the classroom and on the athletic courts and fields for our students and people like Brent Anderson are leading by example.”

One stipulation of the donation is that uniforms not be personalized so they can be used for several years and that they include the foundation’s logo along with the school name and a number. The foundation’s motto of “Dream Big Work Hard” is part of that logo.

The process to obtain a grant is no easy task, as the foundation is intent on making sure the money it donates is used in the most effective way possible. Applications must include a copy of the past two years’ athletic budgets, and the amount of money dedicated to each sport for which a request is being made. Applications must also include vendor invoice quotes.

Only items that are deemed “essential” and “re-usable” are eligible. Uniforms, game balls and safety equipment fall under that category, while things like socks, mouth guards and most electronic equipment do not. “We only provide essential uniforms and equipment necessary to participate,” the foundation’s website lists under the FAQ section.

The foundation also recently donated $10,000 to Long County Middle School for basketball, football and softball uniforms and equipment, and last year it raised some $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston.

“JJ Watt is a tremendous individual by supporting public education and athletics,” Raeburn said. “We are so grateful.”

You can read more about the foundation at http://jjwfoundation.org/.

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