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Packers visit a very special school

Posted by Aaron Popkey on May 15, 2013 – 4:30 pm

130515-school-for-deaf-tailgate-600After a tasty takeout lunch on the bus from Berres Brothers Coffee in Watertown, the Tailgate Tour made a stop at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delevan, Wis.

The school, founded in 1852, is a learning institution for 100 deaf and hard-of-hearing students that serves the surrounding area as well as the entire state. About 60 students board at the school each week and then return home on the weekends, with five of those coming via airplane.

The players spoke to the students and guests about teamwork and giving back to the community with the assistance of school personnel who used sign language.

The players were impressed with the types of questions the kids asked, with topics varying from the emotion of the game to overcoming obstacles to self esteem struggles.

With regard to emotions, Jarrett Bush shared with the students how football is very emotional.

“I get angry, mad and frustrated,” said Bush. “And then I’m happy and excited. It’s such an emotional game. That’s why we’re so exhausted, both emotionally and physically, after the games.”

Aaron Taylor shared his own experiences as a youth when a student asked about whether any of the players had self esteem challenges. Taylor, who has a white mother and a black father, moved a lot as a youth and didn’t have his father in his life.

Former Packer Aaron Taylor waves to students

Former Packers guard Aaron Taylor waves to students — VIEW PHOTOS

“We moved a lot and I had trouble fitting in,” Taylor said. “I tried to be liked and did what I thought other people wanted me to do, be who they wanted me to be. But I was never myself. Finally, I found my interests and found people who shared those interests, and much of it was through sports. I then became someone who believed in myself and overcame my lack of confidence and self esteem.”

And on a lighter topic, the students learned that Randall Cobb likes to shop for shoes.

Mark Murphy and the players had fun on stage with a young Bears fan, too.

Before the tour members departed, they were presented a jersey and autographed mini-helmet from the school’s football team. Equally steeped in history, the Wisconsin School for the Deaf has fielded a football team for more than 100 years.

After a spirited goodbye at the bus, the group continued on toward Beloit for tonight’s festivities.

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