Everybody knows Justin Tucker, the Baltimore Raven famous for being the most accurate kicker in NFL history, has a great leg. But he wowed the country last year when he proved he also had great pipes on CBS’ Most Valuable Performer. As part of the competition, Tucker selected a nonprofit to receive his $50,000 winnings, and he chose Baltimore School for the Arts’ TWIGS program.
Today Tucker visited the school to present the check, tour our campus, and meet some of our students. He talked football with TWIGS student William Hardy, sang for an aspiring vocalist, and enjoyed an intimate performance from the BSA Chamber Choir.
Tucker studied music at UT Austin’s incredibly competitive Butler School of Music, and offered sage advice to the students on a variety of topics, both understanding the grueling nature of conservatory-level training as well as the parallels between performance on the football field and on the stage.
He told the theatre students he still gets nervous when he’s called to the field.
“It’s OK to have butterflies in your stomach, but when you know you’re prepared, you know you’re going to nail it,” he said. “I try to think of the action and not the consequence when I am on the football field. And more often than not, I’m able to put points up when I do that.”
Tucker also believes in the value of a team devoted to the common purpose, whether its the Baltimore Ravens or the nurturing artistic community that exists at BSA.
“Being around a group of people who appreciate hard work makes you a better person,” he said.
One thing is clear: the students were incredibly excited by his visit to the school, and grateful for his support.
“One-third of the operating expenses of our school comes from private support from the community,” said Carter Polakoff, director of the Baltimore School for the Arts Foundation. “We’re incredibly thankful for Justin’s generosity. Donors such as him enable us to keep offering a superior educational experience to the young artists of Baltimore.”
You can watch the story on WMAR here.