Program launched to benefit Jacksonville-area student-athletes

High School 9:12 aims to help students succeed in academics, athletics and life

By Emma Anderson, Tiara Campobasso, Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new program aims to help prepare Jacksonville-area student-athletes for success not only in academics and athletics, but also in life.

The program, called High School 9:12, was launched by the marketing firm Airstream Ventures. It was unveiled Friday during a high school basketball media day event held at River City Brewing Company.

Alan Verlander, Airstream's chief executive officer, said the goal is to help students reach their full potential by building character and teaching them values that will carry over to all aspects of their lives.

"We want to do something that makes a difference in this community," Verlander said at a news conference announcing the program. "We are focusing on a holistic approach towards the whole child."

The announcement was followed by media day presented by The CSI Companies featuring high school boys and girls basketball coaches and top players from across the First Coast.

Speaking at the event, Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene emphasized the importance of immersing student-athletes in rich academic and life experiences.

Greene, whose college athletic experience was cut short by injuries, said she's passionate about the program, since it will help produce better athletes and better members of society as a whole.

Because of her personal experience, Greene said she understands how short-lived athletics can be for most, but noted that it nevertheless equips young people with lifelong values.

"College sports is important, but for many students, it does not lead to professional athletics," she said. " ... I'm encouraged that High School 9:12 is going to instill those type of characteristics and values in our high school athletes."

This program, she said, can help Duval County continue to grow as a community. "Duval County Public Schools are winning every day and 9:12 I expect you to help us keep winning," she said.

UNCUT: News conference announcing High School 9:12

Part of the program is creating more exposure for local student-athletes. One of the ways stakeholders plan to do that is through a basketball tournament held in Jacksonville from Dec. 13 through Dec. 15.

To learn more about the High School 9:12 program, and how you can help contribute to the campaign, just visit the program's website at JaxHighSchool912.com.

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