Class of 1996 enshrinee will be at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday August 5. The Canton native is asking students from his alma mater, Taft Middle School, and Hall of Fame visitors throughout the weekend for their autographs – as part of the nationwide Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” program.
Dierdorf will also host the Sharpie Signature Moves Clinic at 10:00 a.m. on the Hall of Fame youth field at the corner of Barr and Woodward, on behalf of the popular autograph pen used by scores of Hall of Fame inductees. The clinic is a pre-season football camp with local student athletes with Dierdorf, acting as “coach” for the day. Dierdorf will demonstrate a few signature moves, guiding athletes through blocking, tackling and agility drills while stressing the importance of education in building a successful career.
“I’m proud to support local education efforts and ask people in my hometown and the football community to get involved in Sharpie’s autograph program, so schools can get the materials and funding they need,” said Dierdorf. “Getting a chance to be back in Canton and spend time at my old middle school makes me appreciate even more what the Hall of Fame weekend is all about.”
As the Sharpie Retractable “Autographs for Education” tour stops in Ohio, Dierdorf invites the students, parents, football fans and members of the community to put their autograph on education throughout the weekend on an oversized Sharpie “Wall of Fame.” In return, Sharpie will donate $10,000 in school supplies and funding to Taft students and athletes in exchange for the signatures. Overall, Sharpie plans to collect one million autographs in 2005, resulting in a donation of $1 million in school supplies and funding.
“Having Dan back in Canton to bring this program to our school is a huge motivating experience for our students and athletes,” said Cindy Donnelly, principal of Taft Middle School. “As schools continue to struggle with budget concerns, programs like Sharpie’s ‘Autographs for Education’ demonstrate how powerful dedication to education can be. We look forward to kicking off the new school year with the supplies and additional funding donated to our classrooms.”
Dierdorf’s visit to Taft Middle School is the sixth stop on a 10-city exhibition tour, which kicked off in Jacksonville, Fla. with Hall of Famer Howie Long and then moved on to Las Vegas, Baltimore, Dallas and Detroit. The tour heads to Boston next month, as one of the music industry’s popular artists takes the lead from Dierdorf to ask local students, teachers and parents for their autographs in her hometown.
"We’re about halfway through this year’s program and well on our way to the million mark for autographs with the support of legendary athletes like Dan," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. “The Pro Football Hall of Fame and Sharpie share a winning attitude toward giving back to the community and supporting education, especially since 2005 marks the biggest effort in our history to deliver funding and supplies to schools and communities nationwide."
Sharpie Retractable’s commitment to Autographs for Education also includes online resources for teachers and fun for students, including free lesson plans and a virtual autograph wall. In the community, Sharpie’s Autographs for Education tour will criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles throughout 2005, stopping at festivals and special events, like the Sharpie 500 Race in Bristol,Tenn. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.
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