A friendly rivalry may emerge after two L.A. Unified football teams compete in the first annual Turkey Bowl.
The inaugural match-up, set for Friday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m., features students representing University Pathways Public Service Academy and University Pathways Medical Magnet Academy playing a seven-on-seven, flag football game.
The event will also serve as a “get-acquainted” session for members of both South L.A. educational campuses, since L.A. Unified launched each academy this year. Their curriculums are based on the standards of the district’s high-performing King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science and Diego Rivera Learning Complex Public Service Community School. The nonprofit organization, Great Public Schools, donated $1.5 million to help create the new schools.
In addition to the game’s athletic component, school administrators hope that the meeting will help students develop other skills such as perseverance and building relationships. According to Amen Rahh, principal of University Pathways Public Service Academy, the Turkey Bowl provides an opportunity for youngsters to grow in these areas.
“The school experience extends beyond the classroom to the athletic fields and extracurricular activities,” said Rahh. “These events help students learn the soft skills like resilience and grit that are needed to win at life. Children need to learn how to interact and build life-long friendships with their peers and their teachers, and I believe that these bonds are going to be formed at events like the Turkey Bowl.”
Rahh, who played high school and college football, was actually an initiator of the Turkey Bowl. After sharing the idea with Dr. Dorothy Cotton-Kindred, principal of the medical magnet campus, they both agreed to hold the first game in 2018 and continue it on an annual basis.
While hopeful that the Turkey Bowl evolves into an experience comparable to the USC-UCLA rivalry, Rahh remains optimistic about the many benefits resulting from the game.
“As a high school and college athlete, I learned the work ethic that is needed to reach my goals. I also learned the value of teamwork, collaboration and cooperation. Some of my best friends and mentors I met while playing sports or doing extracurricular activities,” he said.
“Those were the relationships that transformed my education from a learning environment to a family environment.”