BALTIMORE - Warm-ups start a bit earlier today for the Orioles' second baseman and leadoff hitter. Brian Roberts is asking students from Highlandtown Middle School for their autographs - part of the nationwide Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" program. Well-known as the autograph pen of choice, Sharpie is enlisting the support of celebrities and professional athletes like the Orioles' Brian Roberts to appeal to people in communities across the country for their signatures. Sharpie plans to collect one million autographs this year, resulting in a donation of $1 million in school supplies and funding.
As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Baltimore, Roberts invites the students, teachers, parents and members of the community to put their autograph on education. In exchange for the autographs, Sharpie will donate $10,000 in school supplies and funding to the middle school.
"Getting a chance to hang out with Highlandtown Middle School students is what being in Baltimore is all about," said Roberts. "We're proud to support local education efforts and ask people to get involved in Sharpie's autograph program, so schools can get the materials and funding they need. I am proud to represent this program in our great city."
Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face.
"This year's program is the most comprehensive community effort in the brand's more than 40-year history," said Rory Leyden, president of Sharpie. "Although we have executed this program on a local level since 2003, we've broadened its reach this year in terms of the dollar amount donated and the addition of college scholarships. We're certain we'll reach the million mark for autographs because of partners like Brian Roberts and the support of communities like Baltimore across the country."
"Having Brian bring this program to our school is a great motivating experience for our students," said Veronica Dickson, principal of Highlandtown Middle School. "With continuing budget concerns, we couldn't be more pleased that Sharpie is dedicated to education in such a powerful way. The supplies and additional funding donated will be put to good use right away in our classrooms."
Robert's visit to Highlandtown Middle School is the third stop on a 10-city exhibition tour, which kicked off in Jacksonville, Fla. and then moved on to Las Vegas. The tour heads to Dallas next month, with professional golfer Chad Campbell as he takes the lead from Roberts to ask local students, teachers and parents for their autographs.
Sharpie Retractable's commitment to Autographs for Education also includes online resources for teachers and fun for students, including free lesson plans and a virtual autograph wall. In the community, Sharpie's Autographs for Education tour will criss-cross the country in a fleet of Sharpie-branded all-terrain vehicles throughout 2005, stopping at festivals and special events, like the Sharpie 500 Race in Bristol,Tenn. The vehicles feature interactive games, product sampling opportunities, and official entry forms for the signature collection effort. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.
Inspired after a Sharpie marker was featured in a high-profile and somewhat controversial professional touchdown celebration in 2002, the Sharpie Retractable Autographs for Education program has been bringing motivation, funds and school supplies to students, teachers and schools for two years.Since its inception, Sharpie Autographs for Education personalities have included NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion Kurt Busch, NFL Hall of Famer and broadcaster Howie Long, Philadelphia's Terrell Owens, Pittsburgh's Hines Ward, Green Bay's Donald Driver, Denver's Rod Smith, Kansas City's Tony Gonzalez, Seattle's Grant Wistrom, and Tampa's Brad Johnson, among others.
About Sharpie Retractable
With a retractable writing tip and no caps to lose, Sharpie markers are now easier and more convenient to use. Sharpie Retractable is available in eight colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, and $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide, Sharpie Retractable joins other significant writing innovations that target a wide range of enthusiasts from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourselfer.
About Sanford®, Makers of Sharpie®
Sharpie is the popular brand of permanent markers long-associated with the autograph experience. Sanford, maker of Sharpie, is a division of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL), a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and marketing of writing instruments, art products and office organization, including such well known brands as Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Parker®, Waterman®, EXPO®, FoohyTM, uni-ball®, and Rolodex®, among others. Sanford makes more than 6,000 products, ranging from markers, pens and pencils to professional art products, fine writing instruments and office organization products. Visit sharpie.com or sanfordcorp.com for more information.