Nate Orchard and Larry Ogunjobi stressed attendance, teamwork and respect Tuesday.
CLEVELAND —** Browns defensive linemen Nate Orchard and Larry Ogunjobi stressed the importance of teamwork, respect, hard work and punctuality Tuesday in a visit to the Walton School.
The pair helped headline what was targeted as a special "You Can Make It Day" through the Browns and Cleveland Metropolitan School District's "Get 2 School, You Can Make It!" campaign following the long Labor Day weekend.
"I think the biggest thing is being a positive role model and allowing the kids to see us in a different light," Ogunjobi said. "I think it's good for them to see the real human being under the helmet and understanding how it's really important to go to school and to do all the little things to get to this stage because it's all part of the process."
CMSD has identified days back from long breaks as historically having lower attendance compared to other dates. "You Can Make it Days," which occur in different forms throughout the year, are designed to encourage consistent attendance throughout the year.
Walton School was selected for the Browns' and CMSD's "You Can Make It Day" due to the school's commitment to raising their academic performance and emphasizing the importance of school attendance, resulting in improved enrollment and attendance rates.
Ogunjobi and Orchard spoke about their experiences growing up and how those skills translate to being a successful player in the NFL.
"I think they really conveyed the message of how important it is to show up," Walton School principal Gretchen Liggens said. "You're a member of the team and so you have a responsibility to everyone. And (they) also overcame a lot of obstacles -- so no matter what the obstacles were that each one of these players may have faced -- they were able to overcome, get to school and achieve at the highest level."
Through its research, CMSD learned students who are chronically absent are linked to lower academic performance and graduation rates and is striving to improve overall attendance through the campaign, along with the support of the Cleveland Browns, as a way to improve educational results.
"These kids are the future," Ogunjobi said. "You never know the great stars and doctors and just so many great people can be in the classrooms that you're talking to.
About the Cleveland Browns and Browns Give Back:
The Browns Give Back to Northeast Ohio with a commitment to education and youth football while engaging the community through the team's signature First and Ten volunteer movement. For more information, visit www.clevelandbrowns.com/brownsgiveback.
About Cleveland Metropolitan School District "Get 2 School, You Can Make It" campaign:
The Cleveland Browns are a signature partner for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District's "Get 2 School, You Can Make It!"attendance campaign. The Browns work hand in hand with CMSD to help solve the problem and remove barriers of students being chronically absent from school, which is defined as missing 10 percent of a school year for any reason. Studies show that for CMSD students, missing even 10 days of school has a significant negative impact on test scores and puts students at risk for not graduating. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, CMSD exceeded its goal of reducing the number of students that missed more than 10 days of school by 6.5 percentage points. This reduction means more than 2,400 students' attendance is on track and these students are on the path to success in both school and life.