The Catholic Commentator 

Former LSU great Justin Vincent smiled as a sun-splashed afternoon provided nature’s own canvas for a group of high school youngsters navigating their way around sparkly new physical education equipment.  

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Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School students enjoy some of the physical equipment donated to them through Justin Vincent’s Dreambuilders Foundation.  Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 

 

Vincent, through his Dreambuilders Foundation and a grant from United HealthCare, recently donated $10,000 worth of PE equipment to Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School. A small ceremony was held on the old Redemptorist High School football field to celebrate the donation, as well as allow students an opportunity to finesse their way around the equipment.  

“This is a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the community,” said Vincent, who was the Tigers’ Most Valuable Player in the 2003 National Championship Game victory over Oklahoma.  

“It’s an awesome feeling to have an opportunity to be a part of something,” added Vincent, a Lake Charles native who prepped at Barbe High School before going on to LSU and then a four-year career in the NFL, which included a 2008 Super Bowl title with the Pittsburgh Steelers. “Even though I am not from here I feel like I’ve spent my whole life here.”  

Vincent noted that Cristo Rey is the sixth school in the Baton Rouge area his foundation has assisted. Vincent’s Dreambuilders Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization working with professional athletes nationwide, provides assistance to financially, physically and mentally challenged students.  

“It’s a 100 percent special feeling to watch these kids using the equipment we had an opportunity to donate,” said Vincent, who served as an assistant coach at LSU before moving on to his current position with the Tiger Athletic Foundation. “And it’s not going away. We bought things that (the school) needs to make these kids better.”  

The donation include cones, jump ropes and other assorted items that are used in PE classes, all of which were lost when Cristo Rey took on up to four feet of water during the 2016 flood, only one week after it opened at the old Redemptorist site.  

The school was forced to relocate to the Bon Carre Business Center for nearly two years.  

“The donation to the athletic program has created opportunities for me to excel and grow as an athlete as we expand our sports program,” sophomore Jamone Williams said. “I thank the Dreambuilders program for thinking of us. It really made a difference for me.”  

Added principal Claire Willis: “At Cristo Rey, every minute of our instructional day matters for our students, and the generous donation of equipment has allowed our physical education classes to become fully engaging learning periods for our students, regardless of our physical space.”