Eight members of the Fondren Middle School football team received a big surprise on April 18.
They got to meet one of their idols that day—legendary Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt—at a special celebration held in Houston by the charity he created. As previous beneficiaries of a grant from the Justin J. Watt Foundation, the students were invited to help accept a large donation from Papa John’s Pizza, one of its biggest supporters, at the event. They also got to visit with Watt personally and ask him a few questions.
“The students were totally surprised,” said Fondren Head Football Coach Steven Wilson. “The players chosen exemplify leadership and responsibility both on and off the field. This was a great experience for them.”
Twelve HISD campuses have benefitted from the Watt foundation’s grant program for after-school athletics since its inception in 2011. This year alone, Hogg Middle School and the Leland College Preparatory Academy received more than $16,000 (collectively) to purchase uniforms and equipment for their baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track, and/or volleyball teams. Previous grant recipients include: the Pilgrim Academy, Sharpstown International School, Project Chrysalis, and Black, Burbank, Grady, Long, Ortiz, and Welch middle schools.
Crediting his own experience as a student-athlete to his current success, Watt created the foundation to give other young people the chance to excel through athletics. All told, HISD programs have received more than $77,000 from the foundation.