Photo caption: JMA Solutions President and CEO Jan Adams welcomes the students.

Photo caption: Guest speaker Washington Redskins Cornerback Josh Norman.

Amidon-Bowen Elementary School student athletes and their guests got more than they bargained for when they gathered for their annual athletic banquet ceremony on May 31. This year’s program included something extra special. Jan Adams, president and CEO of JMA Solutions, which is Amidon-Bowen’s Adopt-a-School partner, arranged for Washington Redskins Cornerback Josh Norman to be the guest speaker. The annual athletic banquet is an event that includes school spirit, camaraderie, and awards. A whopping 75 awards were handed out. Some team highlights include the cheerleaders securing the title as Citywide Grand Champions for the second year in a row, the football/kickball team winning the City Championship, and the girls’ and boys’ track teams taking the runner-up spot.

The night kicked off with Principal TaMikka Sykes welcoming everyone and then Music Teacher Para Perry leading the singing of the school song. Frank Briscoe, Amidon-Bowen’s health and physical education teacher, then had the honor of introducing Norman.

Welcoming the audience, Norman’s speech started with him briefly describing his early childhood challenges and his three core values: God, family, and working hard in school. “I didn’t have the best grades, I was not the best student nor did I apply myself like I should have, but what I did have was the drive and determination that I was going to make it,” Norman said.

He continued to stress the importance of working hard and giving back to the community. “Everything I went through in life, all of the mountains and valleys, high and lows, always brought me back to, ‘What have you done for someone else to make their life better?’” Norman said. “When I got drafted to the NFL, I started the nonprofit organization STARZ24. That organization gives back to kids and gives them the energy to go on and be successful in their lives.” Norman concluded his address with one last piece of advice: “If you want to be somebody that is great, if you want to be better than all of your peers, go the extra mile, take that extra step.”

After Norman’s motivating speech and dinner, all student athletes on the basketball, cheerleading, football, kickball, soccer, and track teams stood up and received a round of applause from the audience. Sykes then announced special player and team awards for outstanding players, which included Antonio King, Khalil Brooks, Aleja Gamble, and Emorean Thomas. The awards portion of the night concluded with special recognition to Amidon-Bowen’s coaching staff: LeeVon Floyd, Alan Clipper, Frank Briscoe, Kelli Collins, Kenisha Pecot, Christina Shelton, Carlos Granados, and Coach Chris for their hard work and dedication to the students. Jan Adams closed the show with one more surprise for all the students: an autographed photo of Norman.

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