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Falcons Finneran well received
Visitor congratulates middle schoolers
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Nearly 300 C.W. Davis Middle School students got a big reward for their community service project. All 6 foot 5 inches of Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran visited the school Tuesday morning to congratulate the classes who collected the most cell phones for victims of domestic violence.

Grouped by subject from each grade level, the sixth-and seventh-grade language arts classes as well as the eighth-grade social studies class gathered 120 cell phones for Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine program, which refurbishes unused wireless phones to create support lines for domestic violence victims. Collectively, the school donated more than 400 cell phones to HopeLine.

Finneran said the group of students bombarded him with questions asking him how tall he is and how Michael Vick was doing. He also shared some words of wisdom with the middle schoolers.

"I told them to get ready for their finals and don’t study the night before and take notes ... to respect their parents and their teachers and work hard," Finneran said.

The pro football player said that he also reminded students of the importance of giving back to those who are less fortunate. Finneran said he believed it is important for youngsters to start community service at a young age so that generosity translates into adulthood. He cited his experience with the Falcons — Falcons owner Arthur Blank strongly encourages players to participate in community outreach programs — as an example of community service being a part of one’s career.

In an effort to raise awareness about the cell phone drive, family and consumer science teacher Imogen Gauntlett had six classes create posters to display around the school.

Gauntlett initiated the partnership between C.W. Davis Middle, the Atlanta Falcons and Verizon Wireless after attending a Falcons game where unused cell phones were collected for the HopeLine program.

Sixth-grader Chip Allen is a student in one of Gauntlett’s classes and met Finneran.

"I thought it was amazing seeing how tall he was," Allen said. "And I thought it was amazing to see a professional at our school. He talked a lot about how you’re supposed to do well in school and how he did well in school and got to go to a really smart college, and then he got to play NFL after that."

Allen said he thought Finneran was a good role model for students.

"I learned it was important to donate, because it can go to a huge cause," Allen said.

Unused wireless phones, batteries and accessories can be donated throughout the year to HopeLine at any Verizon Wireless communications store nationwide. In 2006, HopeLine collected more than 1 million cell phones for victims of domestic violence.

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