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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
National Association for Sport and Physical Education Honors Paul Cuffee School's Marlon Mussington with Unsung Hero for Youth Award
RESTON, VA, March 21, 2012 – For creating programs that challenge and nurture, push and support, inspire and uplift the students of the Paul Cuffee School in Providence, RI, physical education teacher Marlon Mussington received the 2012 Unsung Hero for Youth Award from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) during the week-long national convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). He was nominated by Michael C. Obel-Omia, Head of School.
Sponsored by the NASPE Past Presidents Circle, the award is in recognition of a physical education teacher or sport coach from the district co-hosting the convention who has gone the extra mile to support youth. In appreciation for all that this person has contributed, the individual was invited to participate in AAHPERD's 127th annual convention, as the guest of the NASPE Past Presidents. Along with his award, Mussington will receive a one-year membership to NASPE/AAHPERD as well as travel, accommodations and registration to attend the convention.
Other honorees that evening include the National Physical Education Teachers of the Year for Elementary, Middle and High School and the National Physical Education Administrator of the Year. In addition, soccer great Kristine Lilly was inducted into the NASPE Hall of Fame.
For over 16 years, Mussington has been working with at risk or disadvantaged youth. In the summer of 1996, he volunteered as a football Coach at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn, NY, and continued assisting the program through 2001. A year later, in the summer of 1997, he worked for the National Football League, working with at risk students, ages 6-10, teaching them various aspects of the gridiron game in the Bronx. Throughout his college years, he work on and off campus running various programs for the disadvantaged, including volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club and organizing and participating in clothing drives, among other activities.
After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor degree in communications, he worked with the National Football Foundation as an academic coach, working with and mentoring inner-city high school students in New York City. Through his commitment, the students developed better work habits, learned important life skills, and participated in community service projects in the New York City area.
In 2002, he was hired by the YMCA of Greater Providence to serve as Teen Director to develop programs for the youth of Providence. This experience led to his joining Paul Cuffee School, where he has been for 10 years. While at Paul Cuffee School, which is populated by well over 80% of the students live below the poverty line, Marlon has neither rested on his laurels nor removed his sights away from serving those at risk, disadvantaged, or in need. In order to serve this population better, he has eagerly and consistently sought professional development that deals directly with his responsibilities and ones that have stretched and challenged him: he has maintained and updated regularly his CPR/First Aid Training; has pursued the study of physical education at his alma mater, URI; has taken restraint training courses, has been certified in this highly important skill, and is responsible for training Paul Cuffee School faculty and staff members; has attended anti-bullying conferences at Harvard University; has been deeply involved in Origins Responsive Classroom work, which is the basis for our classroom management system; and he has encouraged faculty and staff to make healthy life choices, sponsoring a Biggest Loser Competition for the past two years. In addition, he is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
"The greatest rewards for me come from working with my students to help them find their physical self and learn to love physical activity," Mussington said. "So many of them have gained enough confidence to begin playing a sport, and enjoy passing on this knowledge about healthy living to their families."NASPE Past President Fran Cleland, chair of the selection task force, stated, "We commend Marlon Mussington for the valuable program he has developed to serve at-risk youth at Paul Cuffee School as well as his contributions to the community. Last year, over 140 Rhode Island schools participated in the Jump Rope for Heart event and Paul Cuffee School, which educates some of the state's poorest families, ranked as third in the state for raising funds for both the Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart programs. The NASPE Past Presidents are thrilled that we are able to recognize one hero who is clearly making a difference in students' present and future lives."