The Patriots know the importance of good leadership and can spot it when it’s present. So when punter Ryan Allen and defensive back Duron Harmon visited the Burrell Elementary School in Foxborough on May 9, they saw firsthand the impact the teachers of those classrooms are having on their students. The players visited the school as a part of Teacher Appreciation Week to thank the school’s faculty for all of their work in shaping the minds of the next generation.
“Sometimes it’s not for the faint of heart,” said Allen, referring to the role and responsibilities of a teacher. “It can require levels of patience and perseverance that are definitely shown through these individuals’ work ethic. It’s very important to me, and I appreciate everything that they do.”
Allen and Harmon walked from classroom to classroom and with a knock on the door from Principal Michele McCarthy, the players surprised teachers with Super Bowl LI championship hats and personalized autographed photos, while students in each class got to take home their own copy of the children’s book, “Let’s Go, Patriots!” by Aimee Aryal. Allen and Harmon encouraged the students to read it every Sunday during the season to bring the team luck on game day.
The teachers were appreciative of Allen and Harmon’s surprise visit and enjoyed spending time talking with the players, as well as seeing the reactions of their students when the larger-than-life athletes walked into the classroom. From pre-school to fourth grade, students lit up with excitement as they watched Allen and Harmon express gratitude to the teachers for the work that they do every day in the classroom.
“You expect the preschoolers to be at a level where they may not understand much, but that was probably one of the most excited and dynamic classes that we visited,” said Allen. “It’s too cute to watch their little personalities come out and them kind of glow when they see their teachers getting recognized and stuff. It’s just fun at the end of the day.”
For Harmon, whose mother teaches middle school, thanking teachers for the work that they do meant everything.
“I know what these teachers go through. I know it’s not always good,” he said. “Their job is more important than a lot of other jobs because they’re literally molding the youth that’s going to be the next generation of doctors, lawyers; everything that we need this world to be.”
As the day wrapped, McCarthy was bursting with excitement for her faculty.
“I think we try to show our appreciation to them all the time, but having something like this really reinforces how valuable they are to us as a district, for our students,” she said. “I think this was wonderful. I’m sure they’re feeling really appreciated.”