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On The Way To 15

Thursday, October 04, 2007

From Harvard Athletics Communications

Harvard freshman football player Iffi Obukwelu spent much of Wednesday morning learning about math with Julia Hogan Jackson's second grade class from Fletcher Maynard Academy.

Obukwelu, a resident of Brockton, Mass. and a B.C. High School graduate, and 16 second graders took over the field at historic Harvard Stadium to help film an educational math video in conjunction with nearby WGBH Television. The video, titled "On the way to Fifteen", featured the school children, wearing uniforms number one through 14, chasing the famous "15" around the field.

The person in that jersey was none other than Obukwelu, who volunteered for the production despite his own rigid academic schedule.

With executive producer Pierre Valette of the hit children's show "Arthur" calling the scenes, and associate producer Heidi Shin coordinating the events -- in a referee's uniform -- Obukwelu fell in line with the other numbers. Sometimes following the other numbers but mostly being chased, Obukwelu seemed to fit right in with the class despite his larger-than-life stature.

Obukwelu, whose younger brother also attended Fletcher Maynard Academy, got to do some learning of his own during the shoot as he practiced celebration dances in the endzone, a place he has never been to with the ball during a real game. The cast arrived at the Stadium around 8 a.m. and Obukwelu shortly thereafter. Once the children were on the scene, filming continued for four hours, but Obukwelu was unable to spend the entire day with the group. He had to run off for his own class in Harvard Yard -- math class to be precise.