SACRAMENTO -- Since March of 1999 the California Lottery has presented the "Heroes in Education" awards on "The Big Spin®" television show. This week's show airs Saturday, May 31, 2003, in twelve television markets statewide.
On this week's show, actor Erik Estrada presented James McDonald with the California Lottery's "Hero in Education" award. Estrada has starred in classic films like Airport, and Midway, with Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda; and, on the television daytime drama The Bold and The Beautiful; as well as, the Spanish language soap opera Dos Mujeres, Un Camino. Estrada has also co-starred on countless other television shows including L.A. Law, Hunter, Diagnosis Murder, The Nanny and Baywatch. He is best known as California Highway Patrol officer Frank Poncherello from the classic television series Chips.
James McDonald, the recipient of the "Hero in Education" award is a college student and teacher's aid from Tranquility, California. McDonald discovered that the elementary school kids in the Golden Plains Unified School District had no sports program; so, he decided to begin one on his own. However, McDonald didn't just want to give the kids an opportunity to participate in football, basketball and baseball. He also wanted to teach them how to succeed in life and how to be responsible. So, one day a week, instead of teaching his players how to throw, catch and kick, McDonald helps them with their homework and even gives them writing assignments. Once complete, the kids must read their assignments to the entire team. This allows them to practice reading, writing and public speaking, which results in more confidence.
The California Lottery's distinguished "Heroes in Education" award is presented monthly on "The Big Spin®" television show. The Lottery enlists various celebrities to present these awards which recognize the "unsung heroes" who devote significant amounts of their time and/or resources to assist their neighborhood schools.
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