Fort Dorchester High School graduate Carlos Dunlap has made a name for himself in the National Football League. The Cincinnati Bengals’ star defensive end has appeared in two Pro Bowls, and is the franchise’s all-time sack leader. Despite his fame, and success on the national stage, he continues to be involved in his hometown. That involves his work with W.B. Goodwin Elementary School (WBGES), where his mother, Dr. Diane Ross, is the principal.
Dunlap launched his anti-bullying and literacy campaign through his own foundation, the Carlos Dunlap Foundation (CDF), this year. He made a virtual stop at WBGES on November 2, 2017; he spoke with students for an hour through Skype about a book titled “Malik the Difference Maker” by Dr. LaMarque D. Ward, Sr., which has an anti-bullying message. Dunlap provided several copies for 5th grade students so they could read and discuss it with their friends and classmates.
Students answered questions and had a productive conversation with Dunlap; they addressed what bullying looks like and how it affects other people.
“Reading the book made a difference to me,” stated WBGES 5th grader, Shawn Brown. “People need to stop bullying other people. It’s not right. I made a promise to stop bullying people and help others.”
The opportunity to interact with Dunlap continued over the weekend, in another state. Sixteen students from Goodwin went to the Bengals’ game with the Jaguars game in Jacksonville, FL November 5, 2017; they were recognized before the contest. They met several players and Cincinnati’s head coach, Marvin Lewis. Students also signed an anti-bullying promise to help promote the campaign. Dunlap’s team ended up losing, 23-7, but it was still an amazing experience. The students received a little “airtime” during the CBS broadcast of the game.
The contest also featured a tense moment between Cincinnati’s standout wide receiver and Summerville High School alum A.J. Green and Jacksonville’s cornerback Jalen Ramsey; they got into a serious altercation. Third grader Daven Brown witnessed the situation, which led to a discussion among the students and chaperones about how bullying can lead to a fight.
“I had a good experience at the football game,” commented Brown. “When something happened in the game that was tied to bullying, it was not nice what [they] did. I can’t think about why [they] had to do that. No one should ever bully someone.”
Tiffany Shepard, Community Relations and Marketing Director for the CDF, helped him spearhead this initiative, which also included a total of six schools in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. Scholars go through an hour-long program with Dunlap, and discuss the dangers of bullying and how to be a difference maker in stopping it.
“Carlos made an impact on these students,” added Ross. “I know he hopes to share more books and speak with more students about what he calls his ‘Bully-Free Zone.’ We appreciate the opportunity to work with him and his foundation; the experience made a difference for our students.”
For more information about the Dunlap’s anti-bullying campaign, contact Tiffany Shepard at TeamDunlap96@gmail.com. To learn more about the experience for the students at WBGES, contact Principal Diane Ross at (843) 767-5911.