The Chicago Bears announced that senior wide receiver/safety AJ Wrenn of St. Laurence High School in Burbank has been named the second Community High School All-Star award winner of the season. The Community High School All-Star award recognizes high school football players making a positive impact in their community and school throughout the season.
Wrenn, who also runs track, started an organization called "Books with a Buddy" that focuses on the importance of literacy for grammar school students. After Wrenn introduced this idea last year, his coach and six of his teammates joined him in going to local elementary schools to read to first grade classes. Each student also received a stuffed animal or "buddy." The team has now incorporated this initiative as part of their programming and plans to continue setting up school visits once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Last year, Wrenn also organized a team outing to assist with a 5K race for members of GiGi's Playhouse, taking it upon himself to organize players from the team to help distribute water and supplies during the race. In addition to maintaining a 4.3 GPA, Wrenn is also a school ambassador. After switching positions earlier this season at the request of his coaches, Wrenn suffered a broken finger, but continues to attend as many team lifts and practices as possible to support his teammates. Wrenn is directing the $500 donation he receives for winning the award to GiGi's Playhouse in Tinley Park.
Nine high school football players will be honored from November through January. Each winner will receive a personalized, hand-painted football, gift bag and a special message from a Bears guest. The Bears will also make a $500 donation to the charitable organization of the players choosing. Applications are open now; nominations must be entered by the first Tuesday of the month to be considered in that month. For more information or to nominate a high school football player, please visit chicagobears.com/community/community-high-school-all-star.
"Watching the kids react to getting a book and a stuffed animal, while watching AJ tell them how important it is to be a reader was truly something special. We preach 'team first' daily in our program and I don't think there is another student who embodies that more than AJ."
-Adam Nissen, St. Laurence HS Football Coach