Platte County Middle School students welcomed two Kansas City Chiefs players to school on Friday, May 3.
Wide receiver Byron Pringle and cornerback Charvarius Ward took questions from students during a Kansas City Character Playbook Celebration sponsored by the United Way of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Character Playbook is an online course that teaches students ways to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, manage emotions and make good decisions. The assembly with more than 700 students came as a reward for an anti-bullying social media campaign they did last year.
Each player was asked questions, like how do they handle negative comments, especially through use of social media? Another question was have they ever felt like giving up and what made you not give up?
Ward noted he quit playing before three times before going back, wanting to make his mother proud.
Pringle echoed those remarks.
“I did give up football coming out of high school,” said Pringle, who played at Kansas State but missed last season after tearing his hamstring. “I have three older brothers who never went to college. I wanted to prove to my mother that I would get a college degree and bring it home.”
Each were also asked what does having good character mean?
“To me, I feel doing the right thing and being nice to people and not being rude to people,” said Ward, who came to the Chiefs from a trade with Dallas last August. “Make sure you are nice to everybody.”
Darian Johnson, from Everfi — the company that runs the Character Playbook — spoke to the crowd before welcoming the Chiefs players into the gymnasium.
The Character Playbook has brought players to more than 60 schools in the Kansas City metro area since its inception in 2016.
“The Chiefs, NFL and the United Way have enjoyed a strong relationship that has benefited numerous groups and individuals over a number of decades,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said in a press release. “The Character Playbook program offers our players and our organization the opportunity to have meaningful touch points with youth as they engage with each other and build the skills necessary to be successful in life. Having Byron and Charvarius take their time time to connected with students at Platte County Middle School is a reward for their hard work and success in the program further illustrates the impact that can be made through this partnership.”
Marissa Whitmer (sixth), Trevor Hay (sixth), Lyric Dulin (seventh), Bodde Stubbs (seventh), Quintin Rivera (eighth) and Callie Spainhour (eighth) asked questions to the Chiefs.
Prior to the arrival of the Chiefs players, principal Chris Miller and teacher Todd Jaros joined forces to battle teams from the sixth, seventh and eighth grade.
A field goal post was made from paper and placed on the wall and each team had a chance to throw through the goal post for a point or kick for three from distances of 10, 20 and 30 yards.
Grace Jordahl and Jack Hamlin made up the sixth-grade team. Katherine Morgan and Brayden Carter represented the seventh graders. Hannah Mand and Cameron Davey were the eighth graders that were selected.
The competition went to a kickoff and neither the Miller/Jaros team nor the eighth-grade team broke the tie. Miller had the last chance to give the faculty the win, but his kick hit the basketball scoreboard that was raised near the ceiling — a little too high.
Later in the event, the two Chiefs players held an impromptu push-up contest against some of the students. Johnson said that wasn’t planned, but will be a part of future assemblies.
“At Platte County Middle School, we have really enjoyed our partnership with the United Way of Greater Kansas City, the NFL and Everfi for implementing Character Playbook,” Miller said. “We ask our teachers every day to make connections to the student’s real world. Character Playbook teaches students how to build positive relationships, make good choices and serve as ambassadors when something is not right. The content is also taught in an innovative way through an interactive platform.
“Anytime we can have a fun time together talking about something positive like character is a good thing. I was proud of our students and staff for having high expectations for all of our learners and keeping a focus on character development.”