Ten area teen-agers have former Redskins running back Larry Brown to thank on their road to higher education.
The former NFL star recently distributed the Larry Brown/PYX Productions (Professional Products, Inc./Arthur Young & Company/Xerox Corporation) scholarships to the District eighth- and ninth-graders.
"I feel there is a great deal of interest in the scholarship program," Brown said, "and I wanted to focus on the D.C. school system because of its particular needs: a motivational and an attendance problem."
The scholarships, the first of their kind in the area, are designed to inspire young student-athletes to continue their education and plan for the future. PYX Productions will grant $500 to the college or technical school of the recipient's choice upon completion of high school.
A boy and girl from five area schools were chosen based on their academic and attendance records, leadership skills and athletic potential.
Brown began a motivational program for secondary school students several years ago to help them understand the value of an education. Brown now has the use of a 30-minute docudrama of his life and has guaranteed that his scholarship program of $5,000 per year will continue through 1989.
"I didn't have a thousand dollars to commit to my education," Brown said, "so I think this scholarship program will be a plus to these kids."
Those youths selected are Glen Wiggins and LaTonya Rease from Dunbar, Eric Bryant and Millicent Johnson from Jefferson Junior High, Ernest Gaitwood and Evelyn Payton from Johnson Junior High, James Brown and Shawn Robinson from McKinley Tech, and Curtis Johns and Christy Graham from Shaw Junior High.
All of the students plan to use the scholarship to further their athletic careers.
"I'd like to try out for the women's Olympic basketball team," Graham, a member of Shaw's girls basketball team, said.
Johns, also a promising basketball player, said the scholarship "will inspire me to try harder academically and athletically."
Rease, a cheerleader and softball player, said, "I feel very proud to be one of the first honorees for this scholarship."
Wiggins, a tennis player and member of the band, hopes his scholarship will "provide incentive for kids to stay in school."
James Brown and Robinson will play football in their remaining years at McKinley. Brown expects to remain in the area following graduation and hopes to attend Howard.
Gaitwood hopes to play football, baseball and track in high school. Bryant, a promising basketball player already nearly six feet tall, would like to play college basketball.
Payton, a flag girl and president of her ninth-grade class, wants to attend college. Johnson will continue to play volleyball, basketball and softball in high school.