NFL super-star Anquan Boldin and the Harlem Globetrotters were the surprise guests at the Do the Write Thing Challenge (DTWT), recognition luncheon recently held at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The students, along with their parents and teachers, filled the room to capacity as local dignitaries honored the top 292 students, who participated in the anti-bullying and anti-violence program from the National Campaign to Stop Violence. Palm Beach County had more than 25,000 student participants in this year’s program.
Michael Lesh, a 6th grader at Don Estridge High Tech Middle School was named the first-place boy Ambassador. Kennedy Thomas, an 8th grader at Crestwood Middle School was named the first-place girl Ambassador.
Known worldwide as the “Ambassadors of Goodwill”™, the iconic Harlem Globetrotters demonstrated their basketball finesse and gave their message about anti-bullying. Globetrotter “Ant” Atkinson described how he was bullied in school and talked about the importance of speaking up and not being a victim. “Buckets” Blakes discussed how each person can make a difference.
Pahokee native, Anquan Boldin delivered a heartfelt message to the students about doing the right thing and to help one another. Boldin, one of the greatest athletes in Florida history, was the star, wide receiver in Super Bowl 2013, playing for the Baltimore Ravens. Last year, he went with the San Francisco 49ers and was voted by the coaching staff and players the Team MVP.
Afterwards, the students crowded the stage for autographs and photos with the sports legends. All students were accommodated. The focus of DTWT is to help students identify the causes of bullying and violence, examine the impact it has on them and most important…what each student can do to help prevent it.
Ten students – five girls and five boys – selected by the Palm Beach County Steering Committee of the National Campaign to Stop Violence were recognized. Michael and Kennedy, being the top winners, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. June 14-18, where they and other “Ambassadors” from around the country will be honored in a national ceremony.
At the luncheon, a poignant video produced by the West Palm Beach Youth Empowerment Center (YEC) Audio and Video Program presented the experiences of the top ten recipients and the ways they are stopping bullying and teen violence. The video, which received a standing ovation was produced by media educator Dwayne Taylor and coordinated by J. William Metzger from the Palm Beach Film Institute.
“I am often moved to tears by the stories these students have to say,” said Bill Bone, Esq. partner at Larmoyeux & Bone, and the Palm Beach County Chairman of the Do the Write Thing Challenge. “I’m overwhelmed by the response we have received from the teachers, parents and students about the program over the last seven years.”
For the seventh consecutive year, the luncheon was underwritten by West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals Corporation. More than 850 guests attended the Kravis event. Other sponsors include The William H. Pitt Foundation; the law firm of Larmoyeux & Bone, P.L. and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
For information about Do the Write Thing Challenge call Bill Bone at (561) 832-0623.
Photo: Michael Lesh, first-place boy Ambassador, with Bill Bone, Esq., chairman of the Palm Beach County DTWT program and Kennedy Thomas, first-place girl Ambassador at the Do the Write Thing Challenge.