TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Robert Schofner as the 13th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. Schofner, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate $25,000 to the Hillsborough Education Foundation and receive a scholarship grant of $25,000 to assist in his educational pursuits.
As a former Boy Scout, Schofner has searched for ways to effectively lead young men in the Tampa Bay area in a positive direction. Schofner has spent time volunteering with Metropolitan Ministries, Tampa General Hospital, and the Judeo Christian Health Clinic. The biggest change Schofner hopes to see in the community is a rise in high school graduation rates amongst male students. Two of the biggest roadblocks for male students attempting to graduate high school in Hillsborough County are the Algebra 1 and Reading/ELA End of Course Exams. 82 percent of drop out male students fail the Algebra 1 End of Course Exam and 75 percent fail the Reading/ELA
Schofner hopes to educate young students on the importance of these exams through BOOST (Boy Organization Optimizing Student Tracking) with peer reading and math tutoring. BOOST will prevent absenteeism similar to the Buddy Program in Colorado, which demonstrated 85 percent of participants more likely to stay in school and graduate when paired with a peer mentor. Schofner envisions BOOST becoming a template for other Hillsborough County schools and, potentially, other Florida schools.
Schofner becomes the 242nd Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $12.25 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.