Sounds of cheering, voices of screaming coaches and plenty of laughter
recently filled the Southeast San Diego Jackie Robinson YMCA during the
3rd Annual RESTART Flag Football Championship.
“I’m so proud of my cousin,” said Tannet S., referring to Juvenile Court
and Community School (JCCS) student Kevin T., who was competing in the
RESTART game. (Both of the students’ last names were withheld because of
their status with the Juvenile Court).
“Since joining RESTART he’s been doing really well in school,” Tannet
continued, “and he recently got a job as a Teacher’s Assistant at his
Coaches, family members and friends joined more than 50 JCCS students at
the RESTART championship, which matched the Thurgood Marshall and
McPhatter JCCS locations against one another. For the competitors, it
was a rare opportunity for organized, school-sanctioned sports. And
according to organizers, the value of RESTART extends well beyond the
“This is an outlet for them,” said Suzanne Williford, RESTART’s creator,
director and driving force. “I see the sports leagues as kind of a
microcosm of life in general. If they can maintain and display anger
management techniques in the heat of athletic competition, they can
function in the real world.”
This year’s RESTART championship was extra special for Williford, who
retired after teaching in the County Office of Education’s JCCS system
for 21 years.
RESTART was designed so that JCCS students could have the same
opportunities to participate in extracurricular athletic programs as
students in traditional schools. The program takes place four days a
week at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, where high school-age JCCS boys and
girls participate in athletics, academic tutoring, community service,
and other activities, as long as their grades and behavior allow them.
In addition to boys football the program also offers basketball and
indoor soccer to both boys and girls.
Thurgood Marshall and McPhatter, both part of the JCCS Metro region,
went head to head for the 1st place trophy. San Diego police captain
Tony McEvoy served as an official for the game and Jackie Robinson YMCA
Executive Director Michael Brunker was the public address announcer.
After a tough and well-matched battle, McPhatter earned the championship
by a final score of 20-12.
“The RESTART Program has been a very rewarding and uplifting experience,
not only for the students but for myself as well,” said Tyrone Johnson,
Program/League Coordinator of RESTART. “The confidence and physical
strength of the students has definitely improved over the course of the
program,” said Johnson. “It’s great to see them playing as a team on the
field as well as off.”
Entertainment was provided for students and fans prior to the game by
the coaches and administrators scrimmage against former RESTART students
who have now graduated. Metro Region Principal Tracy Thompson and
teacher Scott Kreinberg were among the staff members, battling the
RESTART alums to a 28-28 tie. “Given the age difference, I think we
played well,” said Matheno Landers, a teacher in the JCCS North Region.
“This is a great way to spend time with the kids and really see them
bring out their competitive side.”
In addition to McPhatter and Thurgood Marshall, other JCCS sites taking
part in the 2008 Flag Football League were Iris, Chula Vista, National
City, Escondido, Reflections East, Choice, Sports Academy and South Bay
For more information on RESTART, contact the JCCS office at 858-571-7258.