Clairton Bears quarterback Capri Thompson, 18, never thought his accomplishments on the gridiron would lead to the White House, but they did.
“I was excited because I never thought I’d get the chance to get to D.C. or to see the White House or the Martin Luther King Monument. I liked the exposure because we weren’t used to anything like that,” said Thompson, who plans on studying Sports Management when he enters college next fall.
He and all the members of the Clairton Bears football team—the most winning single A Division football team in history, which has won 47 consecutive games and three consecutive state championships, the longest in the nation on the high school, collegiate and professional levels—were awarded for their unprecedented successes when the Clairton Branch of the NAACP sponsored a one-day trip to the Nation’s capitol.
“It was something we were happy to do for the team to broaden their horizons,” said Richard Ford, first vice-president of the Clairton Branch of the NAACP and Clairton City Councilman. “We thought D.C. would be educational and the trip was a success. The kids had the opportunity to see another city.”
Trip coordinator and Clairton NAACP member, Jacqueline Wellington-Moore, agreed with Ford.
“It was a tremendously successful year for the team and we are proud of their record. It was a very enjoyable trip,” Wellington-Moore said of the daylong excursion.
Escorted by a Secret Service Agent, the players toured various rooms of the White House including the Blue Room, which is often used by the President of the United States to receive guests, and the green room, which once served as President Thomas Jefferson’s dining room, but is now furnished as a parlor and used for receptions.
Other rooms of the White House that the kids toured were the East room, the largest room of the White House, which is used for receptions, ceremonies and press conferences.
“I enjoyed touring the White House, the rooms were pretty,” said 15-year-old ninth grader Hasson Petty who handles the wide defensive back position for the Clairton Bears. “I felt amazed at the sight of everything and it felt good to do something for the Clairton community.”
The students also got to see First Lady Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.
Unfortunately, the group was unable to meet President Barack Obama or Michelle as both were out of the country.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is what holds special memories for 19-year-old senior linebacker Dakota Halcomb.
“I enjoyed seeing the Martin Luther King monument because he was a great guy and a very inspiring man. It was a great experience to see that. I saw a lot of memorable things and it was a nice experience. It was the last experience that I’ll have with this group of guys,” said Halcomb, who is planning on joining the military upon graduation. “Clairton is a small town and we’re just glad to put Clairton on the map.”
Freshman tight-end and linebacker Damion Rump was glad to be a part of the winning team and the trip.
“I enjoyed going into the White House, it was my first time being there and I liked hanging out with the team,” said Rump who moved to Clairton from Fox Chapel.