ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Classic presented by State Farm has been a staple in the African-American community as well as in the lives of football fans for the past 29 years. The excitement of the Classic overshadows the typical historically black college and university (HBCU) game by far. It is not unusual to have the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium packed with 65,000-plus fans sporting the esteemed colors of the Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) Wildcats and the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Rattlers. These lifelong Wildcats/Rattlers scream at the top of their lungs while cheering on the schools that helped so many of them become competitive, successful and, most of all, proud.
Recently, the Florida Classic presented by State Farm has provided another opportunity, the Florida Classic Assistant post-graduation externship. There are no bone-crushing hits or 60-yard touchdown passes, but the experience still helps mold young, talented and dedicated students into tomorrow’s professionals, leaders and decision makers. For the last three years, Florida Citrus Sports, the organization responsible for managing the Florida Classic presented by State Farm, has offered a six-month externship to top students from the two competing schools.
Students are given the chance to gain experience in several different areas including but not limited to event planning, budget management, contract fulfillment and marketing.
“Our goal here is to provide our assistants with hands-on experience in event management that will open some doors for them on their journey to reaching their professional goals,” said Joey Walters, director of the Florida Classic.
This year’s assistants are James Harden Jr. and Khadesia Brown. Harden is a 2008 graduate of FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication and Brown is a graduate of B-CU’s business administration program.
“This is just what I need to further my career and become more competitive,” said Harden.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” added Brown. “It’s an experience that I’d pay for. I get to help manage an event that draws a crowd of 65,000 people.”
The externship began July 14, and will last until January16, 2009. The externs are supervised by Walters and Marah Beltz. Beltz interned with Florida Citrus Sports three years ago and is currently on staff as a full-time account executive in the business
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