Surprising a student the Jets leave Colonia High speechless

Talking about their shared love of Call of Duty, Mahan (left) and Harrison (right) realize they have more in common then they thought.

Frankie Brock

Talking about their shared love of Call of Duty, Mahan (left) and Harrison (right) realize they have more in common then they thought.

By Frankie Brock, Colonia High School

On Tuesday September 27th, all eyes were on Jonathan Harrison, the starting center for the New York Jets, as he walked into the Colonia High cafeteria. Donning his famous green and white No. 78 home jersey and carrying a large pizza, Harrison surprised junior Jason Mahan.

As Harrison approached the table there was nothing but shock spreading across Mahan’s face. Frozen in disbelieve Mahan didn’t know what to do as Harrison introduced himself. Harrison started the exciting lunch with ¨Is this seat taken?¨ Before taking a seat himself. Jason Mahan was in for a treat as Harrison started their exciting lunch with “What’s going on, man. I hear you’re a fan of pizza.”

Harrison’s appearance at Colonia was on behalf of Jets’ long-running Tackle Bullying campaign. Vice Principal Jennifer Murphy nominated Mahan and his story when the jets were considering which students would receive an unforgettable lunch.

The Jets Tackle Bullying program is a collaboration with STOMP Out Bullying to tackle all forms of bullying. The program helps the tri-state area by raising awareness, providing tools for educators, and preventing bullying for kids and teens.

In a shout out to Jason Mahan and Colonia High School on social media Harison also commented “I had an amazing time eating lunch with Jason from @coloniahs. Who would have known that him and I would have so much in common. From our love of #callofduty to our very competitive nature… a lot was learned as we crushed a large pizza”

During an interview with student reporter DeAndre Oglesby, a senior at Colonia and third year journalism student, Harrison said Colonia “seems like an amazing school” and “from what Jason says it’s been a pretty good experience for him so far.”

Mahan’s Experience

In a separate interview Mahan told student reporter Frankie Brock,“He told me that I’m not alone. He also used to get bullied. It’s nice to know that I can relate to someone. It was nice talking to him. I felt like I could actually express myself to him and not be judged for it. Mahan confided in Brock also explaining that he was feeling a bit down that day and Harrisons visit was just the cure. Brock ended the interview with the lighthearted question “How was the Pizza?” Mahan laughed and respond “The Pizza was Excellent!”

“I just wanted to pay a visit to Jason,” Harrison told Oglesby. “I heard he was having a rough time. And I just wanted to come talk to him a little bit and put a smile on his face.”

Mahan had and amazing lunch and is especially grateful for the opportunity to meet a football star. It was the first time he got to have a one on one conversation with a celebrity. All of Colonia High School is supportive of his journey. They were glad to share an experience with him he will never forget.

Jets Tackle Bullying

Colonia High School has participated in The Jets Tackle Bullying program since it first started. Besides the Lunch with a Jet player program the Jets have an  Upstander of the Week Program. The program highlights one student per week, during the season across the Jets’ social media platforms and on their video boards during home games. In and interview, with Vice Principle Jennifer Murphy she explained, “They are always looking for different ways to continue to build the relationship with the community,” Murphy said of the Jets.

Colonia High School has also received a Educator’s Prevention Toolkit from the organization. The Jets provide participating schools in the tri-state area with a free Toolkit. The toolkit allows teachers to create meaningful dialogue, to educate students through proven social emotional learning methods, to adopt character building in schools and to encourage students and faculty to work together to change school climate.

STOMP Out Bullying is dedicated to changing the culture for all students. It works to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse. It also educates against homophobia, LGBTQ discrimination, racism and hatred, and deters violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. In this diverse world, STOMP Out Bullying promotes civility, inclusion and equality.

Interview with Jets Public Relations Representative Jason Linder

In an interview with Jets Public Relations Representative Jason Linder explained the reason why the Jets got involved with the Anti-Bullying campaign and why they choose Colonia High School. ¨We became aware of the current climate on social media with cyberbullying and felt we could really make an impact there and with bullying in general.¨ The Jets came up with the #JetsLunch program when they ¨saw a college football player do something similar when he was visiting a school with his team. We decided it would be a good fit for the Jets anti-bullying program.¨

The Jets selected Colonia High school and Jason as their first #JetsLunch because of Mrs. Murphy’s moving submission of Jason story. The submission was detailed and really illustrated Jason’s situation. 

When Linder was asked if more players planned on getting involved, and if they were excited to do so., he exclaimed,¨We plan to utilize additional players and try to visit one school each month the remainder of the school year.¨

To conclude the interview, Linder reflected on the #JetsLunch visit at Colonia High School, ¨The experience at Colonia High School was amazing. From all the staff to all the students, we could not have picked a better school to kickoff our #JetsLunch program.¨

This story was originally published on The Declaration on October 1, 2018.