Hurricanes hope local students storm through SOLs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 25, 2005

&uot;Do you want one of these?&uot; Lamont Daniels asked a bleacher-load of Mack Benn Elementary School students Monday, holding up some orange balloons. A member of the Virginia Hurricanes of North American semipro football league, Daniels and several of his teammates visited Benn to give the students one last pep talk before they started Standards of Learning (SOL) tests on Tuesday. Speaking to a few fifth-grade classes, Daniels baited them with blown-up Hurricane memorabilia.

&uot;How about one of these?&uot; he asked, tossing some miniature footballs into the bleachers as the kids reached and grabbed for them.

Daniels headed over to a nearby table, and picked up an actual Hurricanes helmet. The frenzy level in the gym went to a new level, with kids actually pouring out of the bleachers and knocking one another over.

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Well, Daniels wasn’t giving away his headwear. He set it back down, and he and his teammates got the children quiet.

&uot;You all had better be that excited tomorrow when you take the test!&uot; Daniels said. On Tuesday morning, the Benn kids and their school-going colleagues across the city embarked on some of the most important tests of a student’s academic career.

Suffolk will be recovering from an up-and-down 2004, in which Elephant’s Fork, Southwestern and Nansemond Parkway elementary schools, King’s Fork and John F. Kennedy middle schools and Nansemond River and Lakeland high schools didn’t make SOL accreditation.

On the bright side, Benn made it for the first time, as did Robertson, Mount Zion and Robertson elementary schools. Driver, Florence Bowser and Northern Shores elementary schools are accredited, as are John Yeates and Forest Glen middle schools.

&uot;Remember to go home, go to bed and get a good rest,&uot; said Hurricane center Sean Montgomery. &uot;Eat a good breakfast; it gives you energy for the day. Don’t eat 12 pop tarts; get some orange juice, fruit, toast and milk.&uot;

&uot;How many of you want to play pro football?&uot; linebacker Danny Pringle. Nearly every hand went up.

&uot;If you want to get to the level we’re at,&uot; he said, &uot;you have to pass this test. It’s very important. Don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do anything. Always believe in your dreams. I didn’t come from a wealthy family. My parents weren’t rich. I’m in the Navy, I play semipro ball, and I own my own company. We’re here to give back to our community, and we hope that you can take our place someday and say that you’re giving back to yours.&uot;

The players did a question-answer section, and defensive tackle Darin Moore was asked about his toughest moment on the Hurricanes. Moore mentioned a game last season.

&uot;We were down by 13 with three minutes left, and we came back and won,&uot; he said. &uot;That’s just like life; if you keep your head up and keep chugging, you can get what you want.&uot;