MIAMI— This weekend, Homestead-Miami Speedway will be crowning champions in NASCAR’s three national series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Today, a champion will also be honored off the track
as the Speedway continues to help kids excel in school through the “Write Track Poetry” program.
This year marks the third consecutive year that the championship track has partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network of the Jason Taylor Foundation to hold the Write Track Poetry competition.
The program kicked off in September this year when more than 3,000 students from Miami-Dade Public Schools participated in pep rallies where the kids were treated to spoken-word performances from members of the bluapple Poetry Network. Now in its third year, the Write Track Poetry competition has grown tremendously as more than 2,300 poems were submitted based on the theme, What does Winning Look Like?
This year’s winning poem was submitted by Conrad Edouard, an 8th-grader at Frank C. Martin K-8 Center. Conrad’s poem was professional recorded and produced by Homestead-Miami Speedway and will be played during Ford Championship Weekend.
With a 100 percent participation rate, the Air Base K-8 Center in Homestead was the winning school and will receive a donation from “Driving for a Cause,” Homestead-Miami Speedway’s charitable outreach program.
The top poets, including Conrad, will be awarded the unique opportunity to be driven to school in the Homestead-Miami Speedway Official Pace Car. In addition, the top three students in each grade (6-8) from each school will be in attendance for Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400.
“The Write Track Poetry program has blossomed since its inception in 2015, and continues to empower the youth of South Florida to explore their artistic abilities,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. “Encouraging students to express themselves, while also enhancing their creativity and writing skills, is important to their development. We enjoy partnering with the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network of the Jason Taylor Foundation each year to help achieve these goals.”
“The Write Track Poetry program continues to blossom and shows the powerful impact creative programming can make on young people in Miami and beyond,” said Marnino Toussaint, Jason Taylor Foundation Youth Engagement Coordinator. “Providing a platform that is conducive to free expression while positively influencing the learning environment, and even sometimes breaking language barriers, is what this is all about. From being honored with NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity award last year to engaging more than 3,000 students with this year’s effort, we see the need is only growing. The Jason Taylor Foundation and Homestead Miami Speedway has every intention to continue to meet and exceed that need.”
About Homestead-Miami Speedway
Homestead-Miami Speedway has been open since 1995 following an initiative to spur economic recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. The Speedway, which was founded by Miami businessman, racing enthusiast and philanthropist Ralph Sanchez, is a 650-acre facility that features a 1.5-mile oval and 2.21-mile road course. The Speedway hosts on-track events nearly 300 days per year and generates more than $301 million annually for the region. In 2017, NASCAR crowned champions in all three of its national series at Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend for the 16th consecutive year (2002-17). Champions crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2017 were Martin Truex Jr. (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series), William Byron (NASCAR XFINITY Series) and Christopher Bell (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series). 2018 Ford Championship Weekend will be held November 16-18.
About “Driving for a Cause”
“Driving for a Cause,” the charitable arm of Homestead-Miami Speedway, operates under the auspices of the NASCAR Foundation as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Homestead-Miami Speedway will continue each of its charitable activities, including its in-kind donations to local groups, support of Homestead Hospital’s Speediatrics unit, and its program where organizations can work track events in exchange for a donation to their group or cause.
About the Jason Taylor Foundation
In July 2004, Miami Dolphins legendary Defensive End and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jason Taylor, established the Jason Taylor Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of South Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life.
Since opening its doors, the Jason Taylor Foundation has impacted tens of thousands of children through innovative programming including The Jason Taylor Reading Room, Cool Gear for the School Year, the Jason Taylor Children’s Learning Center, Jason Taylor Scholars and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, among others. For more information on the Jason Taylor Foundation, please visit www.JasonTaylorFoundation.org or follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jasontaylorfoundation or Twitter and Instagram: @jtfoundation99 or @bluapplepoetry.
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