Griffin gives back to young students

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 15, 2011

With a slight grin, Cornelius Griffin admitted that he didn’t really like school all that much when he was a student at Pike County Elementary School.

“I didn’t want to go to school and I cried when I started kindergarten,” Griffin said Monday as he stood in the hallway of PCHS surrounded by dozens of admiring youngsters.

Griffin started and finished school in Brundidge. He was a gridiron star for Pike County High School and, after graduation in 1995, he was a stalwart for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. He was drafted by the New York Giants and played in the National Football League until his retirement in 2010.

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And, it was all made possible through education and the opportunities that it provided.

“I tell kids that education is important,” Griffin said. “It gives you opportunities to better yourself. It gets you up for life, so you need to stay in school, work hard and take \advantage of all the opportunities you get.”

Griffin was at Pike County Elementary School to present the school supplies to the students that he and his wife, Kimberly, made available to the 400-plus students.

This is the fourth year that Griffin has provided school supplies for the PCES students and he does so because he wants them to know that “education is important no matter what you do in life.”

Anita Grant, PCES principal, said Griffin’s donation of school supplies is a blessing in that parents don’t have to worry about purchasing school supplies and teachers don’t have to worry about the students they teach not having what they need to facilitate learning.

“During these really tough economic times, Cornelius Griffin’s donation of school supplies takes the worry and stress off our parents and teachers,” Grant said. “The students know who Cornelius Griffin is and they look up to him and see that he values education and that makes a positive impression on them.”

Griffin makes a cash donation to PCES and Grant and Valerie Thomas make a list of the needed supplies and then go shopping.

Grant said that Thomas does the research as to where they can go to get the most dollar value for the money available.

“We try to buy everything on sale and I do some online shopping because that’s often where we can get the best prices,” Thomas said. “We purchased a lot of the supplies from Wal-Mart and were able to get some of the supplies we needed in the amount we needed at Wise Office Supply in Troy.”

Thomas said that, when shopping for 409 children, some stores aren’t able to fill the order.

This year, because of Griffin’s support, parents of PCES students were only asked to supply book bags for their children and paper towels, Kleenex-type tissue and zip-lock bags for the classroom.

“We are very fortunate that Mr. Griffin assists the children through the school,” Grant said. “His generosity is a contribution to the whole community because the parents are not having to spend money for school supplies and have that money to spend on other needs. We are blessed by the giving of Cornelius Griffin.”