May 24, 2011 - Students at Kennedy Middle School and The Springfield Renaissance School will hear a message about the importance of education and literacy not from their own teachers and families this time but from ESPN Sports Commentators Sage Steele and Alton J. Harris.
The special guests will speak with students on Wednesday, May 25th at 9 a.m. at Kennedy and 10 a.m. at Renaissance in an address made possible through the Office of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. Key points of their discussions will include: personal and social responsibility, decision making skills and the importance of staying focused on education. Poet DeShaun L. Woods of Springfield will also perform.
About the Speakers:
Sage Steele joined ESPN in 2007 and is a co-host of ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter. Most recently, Steele served as update host during live daytime SportsCenter editions, which debuted in August 2008. She also contributes to First Take and previously anchored SportsCenter updates on Mike & Mike in the Morning and has served as a guest co-host of ESPN2’s SportsNation.
Steele began her television career at WSBT-TV (CBS) in South Bend, Ind., as a producer and reporter (1995-1997). She then moved to WISH-TV (CBS) in Indianapolis where she was the beat reporter for the Indianapolis Colts, and covered college sports for Indiana and Purdue Universities. Steele was also responsible for NASCAR and the Izod IndyCar Series reports, and covered the 1997 NCAA Men’s Final Four
In August 1998, Steele moved to Tampa and worked as a reporter, anchor, and host for WFTS-TV (ABC). She was a beat reporter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1998-2001, and also covered professional and college sports throughout the central Florida region, including the Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Rays, University of South Florida athletics and covered the 1999 NCAA Men’s Final Four. In 2000, she continued those roles while joining Fox Sports Net Florida as a reporter and covered Super Bowl XXXV for the 2000-01 NFL season.
In April 2001, Steele became the anchor for the debut of Comcast SportsNet, serving the Washington DC/Baltimore region. She anchored the flagship show SportsNite for six years and was also a beat reporter for the Baltimore Ravens from 2001-2005, hosting a magazine show for all five seasons.
Steele graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports communications. In her spare time, Steele volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association events, enjoys exercising, equestrian horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and 3 children.
Alton Harris joined ESPN in February 2003 as an ESPNEWS and SportsCenter anchor. In August 2006, Harris was named anchor of the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, ESPN's flagship sports news and information program. Harris came to ESPN from WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh, Pa. where he was a news anchor/reporter.
Harris has more than 14 years experience in television and radio news, including morning news anchor at WAMO-FM and national news at American Urban Radio Networks, both in Pittsburgh, and at WOWI-FM in Norfolk, Va. His work outside of sports included the trapped coal miners near Pittsburgh, and, while in Virginia, the fatal USS Iowa battleship explosion. A native of Norfolk, Va., Harris was graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1987. In 2003 he was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University. In 2004, he was the keynote speaker for Old Dominion's 100th commencement ceremony.
Among his other honors, Harris was part of SportsCenter’s Sports Emmy-winning efforts in 2004 and 2005, and a recipient of the Silver World Medal from the New York Festival Awards, Robert L. Vann Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, and an EXCEL Award from the Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Alan J. Ingram said it is important for students to hear adults outside of their regular circle highlight the values of education. “The interesting careers that these impressive individuals have created for themselves will be a great vehicle to immediately draw students in,” said Ingram. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our kids to see what is possible for themselves and their futures.”