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Wilsons Reading Towards Brighter Future


When Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson correctly reads a defense and comes up with a clutch tackle, pass defensed or interception, he's rewarded by the felicitations of his teammates, coaches and fans.

On Tuesday, he rewarded local students from Potomac Landing Elementary and Mount Calvary Catholic School that excelled in the Wilson Reading Challenge with a special tour of FedExField.

Earlier this fall, he and his wife Jazmin, along with the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, created this Wilson Reading Challenge, an initiative to get students excited about hitting the books opposed to directing their free time plans to video games and movies.

Continually pointing to his upbringing in Prince George's Country, Wilson said that he wanted to give back to a community that has assisted him throughout his career, not just as a football player, but as a man.

 "My wife and I wanted to improve the literacy rate in Prince George's Country and the best place we could think to start was our own elementary schools," Wilson explained to about the formation of the challenge. "So we created the challenge to get kids excited about reading again.

"That was something that was big in both of our pasts and we wanted to give these kids the same opportunities that we had growing up."

Starting the tour of FedExField from the press box where local media watch, dissect and analyze the performance of the Redskins on gamedays, Wilson along with teammates E.J. Biggers, Brandon Meriweather, Trenton Robinson and Peyton Thompson passed out lunches to the students and chatted with them about everyday life.

Following lunch, the tour proceeded to the field level of the stadium where the classes got an exclusive look at the cheerleader studio, interview room and the field from the corner of the endzone.

The next portion of the private trip, however, was what the students had been waiting patiently for--a look at the Redskins locker room.

With wide eyes looking around in amazement at the individual lockers of players such as quarterback Robert Griffin III and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, Wilson explained that few have gotten the opportunity they received.

"This is literally where we are before and after the game," the seven-year veteran told the elated students. "Where you're sitting is where we are during halftime. You're seeing everything, our training room, our restrooms and showers, the interview room.

"You guys are inside the Redskins locker room like we are right after the game. This is a rarity; you guys are getting something really exclusive.

"I've actually been in here for events before and I've never seen the names above the lockers." 

Breaking up into groups, the students had the opportunity to play cornhole with Wilson, receive autographs from Biggers, Meriweather, Robinson and Thompson, and listen to Jazmin as she read Celeste's Harlem Renaissance and The People Could Fly.

"You guys were the top scholars in your respective schools and we're so proud," Jazmin told each group. "Today means the world." 

Wilson showed off his booming gameday voice and the 50 hard-working students got the opportunity to listen to new material.

It isn't every day that you get the chance to hang out with professional football players in the office.

After one final group picture with the five Redskins in attendance, Wilson told the students that today wasn't just about rewarding themselves.

It's about building a solid foundation for the future.

"I'm glad that you took our reading challenge seriously and were the top classes in your schools," Wilson said. "I wish I could do even more to celebrate you guys taking advantage of this opportunity.

"Keep reading and keep making this a big part of your life and one day one of you will be giving this tour to some younger kids yourself."




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