On October 4, 2016 the New York Jets, United Way of Essex and West Hudson (UWEWH), and Verizon launched Character Playbook at East Orange STEM Academy. Jets rookie linebacker Darron Lee and the President & CEO of UWEWH, Catherine Wilson joined students in the classroom session before transitioning to a larger assembly with more than 300 students.
With retired 16-year NFL veteran Tony Richardson serving as the event emcee, Darron told his story of the journey that led him to the NFL, and how strong character instilled in him by his mother helped him become a first-round draft pick of the New York Jets.
Students were absorbed by Darron’s real-life advice and relatable personal story. During the assembly, he discussed how to manage emotions, deal with others that you may not get along with, and effectively communicate. As the event was wrapping up, one 8th grade student was overheard telling his friends that after high-fiving Darron and Tony, he would never wash his hand again! It was a great day for everyone in attendance.