Students, parents, and teachers listen intently to Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson at Edendale Middle School. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Yesterday, Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to student athletes during their athlete banquet at Edendale Middle School in San Lorenzo, Calif. Students who participated in sports throughout the year received awards, enjoyed musical performances, and had the opportunity to listen to a few words from Coach Jackson.
Coach Jackson has been active in the local community since being named the head coach in January. He has taken the time to meet with everyone from college students to business leaders to aspiring coaches to young students. His visit to Edendale Middle School is the latest example of Coach Jackson's commitment to the Raider Nation.
"I'm fully planted here. I've put my feet in here, my hands in here, my heart in here and I plan on doing that throughout my career here," said Coach Jackson. "I don't know that people truly understand that it's the whole city against every team we play. It's not just Hue Jackson and the Raiders against the teams we play, it's the city of Oakland against the teams we play. I want to make an impression in our organization and in this city that we're going to win every game, every opportunity we can, but we need everybody. We need everybody to join hands with us and lock arms and let's go win."
During his time with the seventh and eighth grade students, Coach Jackson emphasized the importance of education. "Some of you have great aspirations to go and be all the different things you want to be in this world, whether to be the next Hue Jackson, the next President Obama, the next Hillary Clinton or whatever you want to be in life," Coach Jackson said to the crowd. "What's very important for this next step is that you have to do it right. It truly is all about school as you take this step. Here's the key – you've got to do exactly what you're parents and the teachers, who are your mentors, ask you to do."
The students listened carefully to Coach Jackson's words. "School is very important," said Coach Jackson. "It is your lifeline to be everything that you want to be. Take school very seriously because it is your signature as you move forward in life. Be all you can be because there is nothing that will stop you from your goal."
Edendale Middle School's Athletic Director Kathy Quintana could tell that the students were soaking up everything the head coach was saying. "I hope they heard him say that it takes education and to be a good student to be able to move through the levels," said Quintana. "I think they heard that loud and clear. I think that's the biggest message he could have given our students that you have to be good students to be good athletes so I hope they take that to heart."
Having the opportunity to hear from the Raiders head coach was a big deal for the students, their parents, and the teachers. "We were all so excited," said Quintana. "When the kids all heard they were like, 'wow, I can't believe he's coming to Edendale.' I think what it meant to us is there is hope to pursue your dream. I think the message he brought to our kids is that pursue your dreams, be good students, be good athletes, and work hard. It takes a lot of hard work to get to that level and I think that they were so excited to have him come and be a part of our night."