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Detroit All-Pro Kicker Jason Hanson Brings Sharpie® Retractable "Autographs For Education" Program To Detroit

Jun 6, 2005

Detroit, June 6, 2005 - Having already made his mark as the team's all-time leading scorer, Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson is set to make his mark on education today at the Gabriel Richard School. Hanson is asking students from the Detroit-area 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 Hanson 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 Detroit, Hanson 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 elementary school.

"It's important to teach today's youth about the value of their education," said Hanson.  "I'm proud to back Sharpie's dedication to the school systems and inspire people to get involved so that schools, like this one, can get the materials and funding they need. It's exciting to be a part of a program that directly impacts the students both here in Detroit and across the country."

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 Jason Hanson and the support of communities like Detroit across the country."

Gabriel Richard School proudly adds its 600-plus autographs to the Sharpie efforts to collect one million signatures. Karen Dudley, principal of Gabriel Richard School, expresses gratitude to both Hanson and Sharpie for the continued support of education with its donation.

"Having Jason bring this program to our school is a great motivating experience for our students," said Dudley."He's a role model for many of them, and to have Jason sharing his experiences is incredible. We're so pleased to be a part of Sharpie's educational efforts and will be putting the supplies and additional funding to good use right away in our classrooms."

Hanson's visit to Gabriel Richard School is the fifth stop on a 10-city exhibition tour, which kicked off in Jacksonville, Fla. and then moved on to Las Vegas, Baltimore and on to Dallas. This summer, the program will continue to team up with athletes and other inspiring personalities to celebrate its mid-year milestone of collecting autographs toward the 2005 one million autograph goal.

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

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, Baltimore's Brian Roberts, the PGA TOUR's Chad Campbell, 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 Minnesota'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 or for more information.

For more information contact Susan Wassel at 630-481-2018, or email