Not Just Another Day in Troy

    Freshman football player John Plattenburg prepares to toss a t-shirt into the stands full of Day in Troy participants at Galen Center on Sunday.
    Feb. 25, 2015

    Freshman cornerback John Plattenburg extended his right arm, pointed with his index figure and prompted a group of 35 kids to look to their right.

    Plattenburg had arrived at stop number three of the campus tour he and fellow Trojan football player Leon McQuay III were leading. This site, however, was a touch more significant to Plattenburg than the rest.

    "That, over there, is my locker," Plattenburg explained to the wide-eyed students from local Los Angeles elementary and middle schools.

    As kids explored the football locker room, Plattenburg encouraged them to focus on academics and set goals to eventually earn their own spots at a major university.

    This group of students represented a fragment of the 4,000 kids immersed in the Trojan experience at USC Athletics' annual Day in Troy this past Sunday.

    "That was a really good feeling," John said. "Especially for these younger kids, they look up to that and think, `One day I hope I can have my own locker. I'm really going to take in what these guys say about academics.'"

    Academic excellence is one of the four tenets of USC's SCORE Initiative, which aims to provide educational messages from Trojan student-athletes to thousands of kids across the Greater Los Angeles area. Physical health, teamwork and community responsibility represent the other cornerstones of the program.

    More than 150 student-athletes joined Plattenburg throughout the day, which started with the morning tour of USC, followed by an educational session, a carnival, an autograph session and a women's basketball game.

    The 10th-annual Day in Troy featured 34 total groups of elementary schools, middle schools, church groups and recreation centers throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. The event serves as the USC Athletics Community Outreach Program's largest endeavor of the spring semester.



    This year's event presented a new wrinkle - a chance to walk through the locker rooms of multiple USC Athletics teams.

    Having spent a few years at Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., USC was Plattenburg's favorite school growing up. Never, however, did he have an opportunity to tour the school's athletic facilities and be inspired by its student-athletes.

    "We showed them a lot of cool things that most people don't have the chance to see," Plattenburg said. "I think this is a great event, an experience I wish I had as a kid."

    Check out pictures from the day's action below, courtesy of John McGillan.