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Rams & LMU celebrate Academic Challenge winners with 'College Day' on campus

The Los Angeles Rams and Loyola Marymount University, the Official Higher Education Partner of the Rams, hosted a College Day for the winners of the team's 2023 Academic Challenge in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). More than 150 girls flag and boys tackle varsity football players from four Los Angeles Unified high schools visited LMU for a campus tour and career panel curated with the help of UNITE-LA.

Students had the opportunity to hear from Jenna Cadwallader, Propulsion Flight Technician at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Eddie Jauregui, Director of Data Strategy at Create Music Group, Imani Johnson, Occupational Therapist, and Kim Rhodes, LMU Career and Professional Development Director of Employer Engagement.

Madison Greene, Washington Preparatory High School sophomore, has her goals set on pursuing higher education and was inspired by the panelists. "The mentors I heard from today spoke to me because they came from the area I grew up in. It shows me that if they got to where they want to be, that I can do so as well."

In addition to gaining insight into the panelist's career journeys and professional advice, NCAA Eligibility Center and Common App also provided the student athletes with virtual presentations about college entry requirements and admission process.

"Often times, student athletes are rewarded for their performance on the field. This is offering an opportunity for them to be rewarded in the classroom," said Trenton Cornelius, LAUSD Interscholastic Athletic Department Coordinator. He emphasized that the tour and panel encouraged the students to think more about their future and pursuing higher education.

Twenty Los Angeles Unified high school football programs participated in the Rams Academic Challenge last season. As part of the challenge from August through December, each team met with an NCAA representative to discuss college readiness, hosted an alumnus to speak with their program about life after sports, participated in weekly study halls, and monitored their academic progress. The challenge took the grade point averages (GPA) of each participating football program before and after the season.

"Today inspired me because maybe one day I could be on this campus," said Huntington Park High School junior, Deigo Garcia.

GALA Girls Academic Leadership Academy's girls flag team and Edward R. Roybal Learning Center boys tackle team had the highest cumulative GPA and the teams with the most improved GPA were George Washington Preparatory High School girls flag and Huntington Park High School boys tackle. Each program was rewarded $2,500 equipment grants provided on behalf of USA Football's partnership with Riddell.

"It was great to see the girls flag and boys tackle teams coming together," shared Johnathan Franklin, Los Angeles Rams director of social justice and football development. "Four schools with completely different backgrounds and different communities, being able to mingle, break barriers and challenge their perspectives of what friendship and community looks like, exemplifies the power of football."

The goal of the Rams Academic Challenge is to empower Los Angeles Unified football players to maximize their potential on the playing field and in the classroom. The Rams encourage student-athletes to dream beyond sports and encourage them to go pro in life by becoming the best version of themselves. Since launching the Academic Challenge in 2017, the Rams have provided more than $33,000 to varsity football programs throughout Los Angeles.

For more information about the Rams' community outreach efforts, visit

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