Justin Tuck had a lot to say to the media yesterday on topics ranging from the replacement officials to the Osi Umenyiora-LeSean McCoy feud to the upcoming rivalry game with the Eagles. But the most important things he said yesterday were not to the media and not about football.
Tuck addressed a room full of middle schoolers from New York and New Jersey at the Manhattan headquarters of Scholastic and launched the fifth season of his RUSH for Literacy initiative.
“I still remember the first day we introduced this to the kids and it seems like they are getting more excited about it every day,” Tuck said after talking to the kids. “I think when you feel like you are doing something that they are appreciating, time-wise, you don't feel it is as long.”
Tuck and his wife Lauran spoke to the kids about the importance of reading and doing their homework now and as they move on through their academic lives. Justin presented them with parallels to his current life, having to read and comprehend massive playbooks, and spoke to them about his humble beginnings growing up in Alabama.
The children also received goodie bags with shirts and new books provided by Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy partners Scholastic and Pelle Pelle. Tuck also announced the beginning of this year’s RUSH for Literacy Sack Challenge. Students in grades 5 through 8 will receive four new books to read throughout the year and will be invited to submit essays. This year’s essay contest theme will focus on bullying and overcoming adversity, and the authors of the best essays will be invited to attend the Giants’ game against the saints on Dec. 9. The program continues through the school year, as kids will read and track their progress. The classroom with the greatest percentage of essays turned in will win a visit from Tuck at the end of the school year.
“We worked directly with Scholastic and they do a great job with all the tests that they run throughout schools throughout the nation of what is pretty much essential for today’s youth,” Tuck said of deciding on the theme for the essay contest. “There were a lot of topics that came up. We chose adversity and bullying mainly because bullying has become such an epidemic in today’s youth in schools. A lot of the essay contests that we have had in previous years have had a bullying aspect to it even though our topic wasn’t necessarily bullying. We felt it was apparent that we needed to discuss that and make it a part of our RUSH for Literacy this year.”
The essays written by Osi Umenyiora and LeSean McCoy will likely be eliminated early from the competition.
Tuck said after five years of trumpeting for literacy, he’s starting to see his efforts pay off.
“Our first kids are in high school and they are