On Tuesday, December 9, 2008, New York Jets Safety Abram Elam #27 visited with hundreds of sixth graders at P.S. in the heart of Jamaica, Queens, NY. He brought along with him a message of hope and encouragement for the students to achieve academic success. With the school zone being confronted with a rising issue of gang recruitment in the area, Elam urged the youth to stay on a positive track and refrain from gang activities.

Elam’s life has been plagued by many tragedies with the loss of multiple siblings to violence in his hometown of Palm Beach County, FL. He has turned his hardships into positive action which is visible by his commitment to giving back to the community. “Mr. Elam is a wonderful role model for our 6th graders, as he has overcame a difficult past to become a success,” states Principal Karen Zuvic. “He spoke to all of our 6th graders (numbering 240 in the auditorium) about his background in Florida, losing three siblings to street violence and being the first one of his family to graduate college,” which was very inspiring and motivational to the youth.

Elam entertained questions and also played a sports trivia game with the students, giving away gift bags filled with NY Jets goodies to those who answered correctly. Elam posed for photos with many of the students and also recognized over 45 top sixth graders, acknowledging their academic achievements, while encouraging others to strive for excellence by challenging them to achieve higher scores on their upcoming quizzes and tests. Each top student received gift bags.

Also in attendance was Queens Councilman James F. Gennaro who stopped by to show his support.

“With the remaining Jets paraphernalia left behind by Mr. Elam, I am following his lead in acknowledging our students academic successes. Every week I call down to my office all 6th graders who have received a ‘4’ (equivalent to an “A”) on any test or quiz during that week to chose two ‘Jets Rewards.’ I hang their tests in my office on a board titled “4’s for the Jets.” Each week, I look forward to filling the board. – Karen Zuvic, Principal of PS 86

To view video footage of Abram Elam’s visit at PS 86 – click on VIDEO (NY1).