There are three young men that you need to meet. They are local boys who have made their mark on their school in all sorts of positive ways. Football season is over, which has kept them busy and active. But I had the good fortune of having them all together to talk to me. I'd like to introduce you to Ayden Bennett, Kevin Jackson, and Jackson Kurth.
Ayden Bennett is a 7th grade student at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. He is a very smart and friendly young man with a big heart. Ayden plays center and middle line backer on the Ben Franklin football team, and although the season is over for the year, he still has a hand in the sport; not for his own gain, but for the gain of others. Ayden is the creator of Gridiron Gear.
“We collect equipment that people don't use anymore like cleats, girdles and jerseys and them we'll give then to people who may not be able to afford them.” Ayden said. “A while ago at a Pop Warner game I saw some kids whose cleats were in bad shape and some other kids were just wearing their tennis shoes and I didn't think that was right.”
So he set to work collecting equipment for Gridiron Gear. He told me that the first time he did it, around 500 pairs of cleats were handed out in one day.
Ayden played football when he was younger in the Pop Warner Leagues and plans to continue playing for as long as he can. This year he won the award for best coach, got the most tackles for the season, and had other great accomplishments.
Next we have Kevin Jackson. He is also a 7th grade student at Ben Franklin and he is the running back on the football team (he also played free safety). He was very polite and knowledgeable about the sport.
Kevin has had quite a season this year. He has scored 75% of the points gained throughout the season, he scored 106 points during the season and he broke the school record for yards run with 1,111 yards. What's astounding is the has has never played football in his life before this year.
“I actually wasn't going to play this year,” Kevin said. “But my basketball coach encouraged me to play, so I went out and played and I liked it.”
Kevin plans to keep playing football as well as other sports like basketball.
Jackson Kurth is last but most definitely not least in our trio. He is a 7th grader at Ben Franklin and a member of the football team like both of the young men before him. He played running back and defensive back.
“We got medals this year. Kevin got the running back medal, he got the leader of the team,” Jackson said, gesturing to Ayden. “And I got the defensive back medal.”
Jackson really did his best to bring his team together to work as a unit. At any of the games you would find him on the sidelines encouraging his team mates and maintaining a positive attitude.
“I try my best every play,” Jackson said. “Football is my favorite sport. I just love tackling people and taking the hits myself."
Jackson plays sports year-round with basketball, baseball and track. He plans to continue to play football throughout his time in the Valpo School System and then maybe play in college. But right now he's just focusing on the present, keeping academics as his number one priority.