LINCOLN HEIGHTS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Los Angeles Rams awarded the Lincoln high school varsity football team on Monday for winning the 2018-2019 Academic Challenge.
"The LA Rams came out and ran a school-wide assembly to congratulate and present our football team for winning the academic challenge," Chris Rattay, Lincoln head football coach, said.
Six LAUSD varsity football teams participated in the challenge by submitting the teams' cumulative Grade Point Average at the beginning and at the end of the fall semester.
Lincoln won for having the highest GPA, 2.94, and Grant high school for most improved GPA, 2.73 to 2.84.
"I grew up in the projects, I've seen a lot of gang violence, a lot of drugs," Kevin Moreno, senior and receiver for the Lincoln varsity football team, said.
Throughout the semester, players participated in character development sessions, financial literacy workshops and professional etiquette training.
"When I got here studying hard was not cool on the football team and that's just gone now," Rattay said.
Additionally, the Lincoln football team put in extra hours of tutoring on top of their course load.
"I could have fallen on the wrong path," Moreno said. "Because of football it taught me to go on the right path and it made me do better in school."
Each of the winning teams received a $2,500 equipment grant.
"We need to get some new helmets," Rattay said. "Some of these modern helmets that are really good for concussion."
This is the first year Lincoln participates in the contest.
"It's the Rams' way of really encouraging students to prioritize school while they are student athletes," Chase Isaacs, corporate communication specialist with the LA Rams, said.
Select participants had the opportunity to serve as Rams community water boys during home games at the LA Memorial Coliseum.
"I just want to thank the Rams and the teachers for pushing us to do better and help us get better GPAs," Moreno, said. "Because it's only going to benefit us in the future."
Lincoln high had Jonathan Franklin, Rams executive, as a guest speaker and Grant high had Roland Williams, Rams alumnus and Super Bowl champion.
Lincoln high football team wins LA Rams' GPA academic challenge
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