The Red Coats of THE PLAYERS Championship concluded their annual Red Coat Ride Out last Wednesday, Sept. 26 with a visit to the DePaul School of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, where the tournament’s red-jacketed volunteer leadership surprised students and faculty with a gift of eight new SMART Boards, valued at $40,000.
A school that serves students in second through eighth grade with dyslexia and related learning differences, the DePaul School relies heavily on interactive teaching methods to help students learn.
“One in five people has dyslexia,” advised Dr. Amber Oliveira, head of school at the DePaul School. “They are neurologically wired differently than a typical learner, so anything we can do to make learning multisensory and interactive is a must — it’s a priority.”
For that reason, tools such as tablets and SMART Boards, or interactive whiteboards, have proven invaluable to the school’s teachers and students alike. Unfortunately, the costs for such technology can be steep, so all eight classrooms have been sharing the one SMART Board the school currently has on campus.
“Our teachers arm wrestle over it, basically,” Oliveira joked.
Given that the tool has become such a hot commodity, those at the DePaul School were thrilled when they were initially told they would be receiving one new SMART Board as part of THE PLAYERS’ annual charitable giving initiatives. When it was revealed to them last Wednesday, however, that they would in fact be receiving a total of eight new SMART Boards — one for every classroom — they were ecstatic.
“The fact that we put it on our goal list to have one more interactive SMART Board and the Red Coats came through with one for every single classroom blows me away,” Oliveira said. “One thing we have in common with that great organization is our desire to give back, and we can’t say thank you enough.”
The joy of the announcement, made by THE PLAYERS Championship’s 2018 Tournament Chairman Damon Olinto, was also shared by the Red Coats, who volunteer their time each year just to be able to witness such heartwarming moments.
“For the 2,000 volunteers that help put THE PLAYERS on, our main focus is to be able to give back to the community, and when we can see firsthand the impact that we make, it just makes us reinvigorated to make the next tournament better,” Olinto said. “And to see the look in the kids’ eyes and on their faces and the excitement they have when they get this technology really is what it’s all about.”