INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is a force to be reckoned with on the field, but what he’s doing off the field is just as powerful.
Last week, a class of fourth-grade students at Independence Primary School showed off their talent by creating a large Browns mural for their school art show, featuring head coach Kevin Stefanski, running back Nick Chubb, quarterback Baker Mayfield and, of course, Garrett.
The story about the students' mural made its rounds on the internet and eventually caught the eye of Garrett himself.
"The fact that they were able to do this, especially in 4th grade, it’s amazing," said Garrett.
Garrett is an advocate for art and literature, and on the day the students’ mural was debuted, Garrett had commissioned a mural on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, highlighting the culture of music, sports, and literature in Northeast Ohio.
"One thing that Myles Garrett is very public about, is his love for learning and his love for reading. He commissioned a mural that he released last week in Cleveland and for our students to see that side, he’s not just an athlete. He’s a life-long learner. He supports the arts. It’s important to him and it’s a great lesson for our students," said ISP principal, T.J. Ebert.
That connection, paired with Garrett’s love for creativity and community, was too strong for the defensive end to ignore and he knew he had to meet the young artists.
Last week, a 4th grade class in Independence painted a #Browns mural for their school art show–which featured players including Myles Garrett.— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) April 29, 2021
Today, Myles surprised the class at their school–thanking the kids for their creativity and encouraging them to continue working hard. pic.twitter.com/rWCcKD1gIt
On Thursday afternoon, Garrett surprised the children who had created the Browns mural—showing up to their school to thank them for their creativity and to encourage them to continue working hard.
"To be able to make some kid's day, and maybe make their year, and just provide them some information knowing that what they’re doing can catch someone's eye and that can create something beautiful for them down the road," said Garrett. "Anything is possible so I want to allow them to know that early, so they can start to expand with their creativity and what they want to do in life."
In on the surprise, Independence Primary School Principal T.J. Ebert and Communications Director Charlene Paparizos helped orchestrate a “spirit day,” having the kids wear their Browns gear without knowing they were about to meet Garrett.
Ebert said it's been a tough year for his students.
"In and out of school, our kids, we haven’t been able to learn normally. We are distanced from each other. We haven’t been able to get together," he said. "Imagine a 10, 11, 8, 9-year-old child having to go through the things that we’ve had to go through, it’s been trying as adults."
He's thankful that Garrett provided a bright spot in the year.
"Instead of the memory of a COVID year, you created a memory of Myles Garrett coming to see them today for this mural, and for that as a building leader and a principal, I can’t thank you enough for providing that for our students today," said Ebert to Garrett.
Garrett is no stranger to giving back and being a role model, being named the Browns 2020 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee for his production on the field and commitment to the community.
Now, with Garrett’s surprise visit to the fourth-grade class, a young group of children has been shown that hard work pays off and will hopefully remain passionate about art and creativity for years to come.