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Packers’ Clinton-Dix emotional as “Ha Ha HERO Headquarters” reading room unveiled in Milwaukee elementary school

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MILWAUKEE -- On the football field, his goal is to stop the other team and take away the ball. Off the field, a Green Bay Packers defender is doing what he can to put kids ahead of the game.

It was a hero's welcome at Milwaukee's Benjamin Franklin Elementary School for Packers safety, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Tuesday, Jan. 9th -- and it was well deserved.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

 

"It's just very exciting to have someone here who is, who looks like the children but has done something so special with his life, but is willing to give back to them," said Benjamin Franklin Elementary Principal Sara Hmielewski.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Clinton-Dix brought with him an important message for the students -- as he is still a student himself -- working on finishing his criminal justice degree at the University of Alabama.

"School is something that I drive to finish," said Clinton-Dix. "I'm going to finish this year. I'm excited about it and just to be that icon that kids can look up to when it comes to school and not just football -- it's an unbelievable feeling."

He left behind a beautiful new learning tool for the school.

"My heart was in my stomach when I first walked in here and saw this up here. Man, it's a dream come true," said an emotional Clinton-Dix.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

The school introduced "Ha Ha HERO Headquarters" -- a new space that will be for students to just hang out and read.

"Currently, our student population is below grade level in reading in almost all grade levels so simply the opportunity to have resources, books, titles that are of interest to the students, where they can do self selection is so critical," said Hmielewski.

Clinton-Dix didn't do it alone. The Milwaukee law firm, Quarles & Brady, helped with the room's transformation and the books.

"Just to see what bringing Ha Ha to this school means to them, and seeing what an influence Ha Ha can have on them and have on their education, and provide that spark and light and love of reading and education -- it's phenomenal," said Katie Perhach, with Quarles & Brady.

Now with the new room, Principal Hmielewski said she has a new goal for her students this year.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

"Just get reading. That is our main focus for the remainder of 2018, is read," said Hmielewski.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

With Clinton-Dix's help, those students now have a better chance to achieve any goals they might have in their life.

"I just preach the importance of reading, the importance of learning and challenge yourself to be the best you can be in life, whatever it is you do," Clinton-Dix said.

Clinton-Dix just started his foundation in October 2017. This is the first school in Milwaukee to get a "HERO Headquarters," but he said he's motivated to help more schools.