Panthers McCaffrey, Tepper drop in Zoom class unexpectedly, surprise teachers and students with game tickets

Panthers McCaffrey, Tepper drop in Zoom class unexpectedly, surprise teachers and students with game tickets
On Sept. 29. Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and running back Christian McCaffrey dropped into two classes to give teachers and students tickets to the Panthers game Oct. 4. (Source: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It was a Tuesday filled with surprises for two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Zoom sessions.

On Sept. 29. Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and running back Christian McCaffrey dropped into two classes to give teachers and students tickets to the Panthers game Oct. 4.

In a release by CMS, the district said Christine Schonour, a teacher at Irwin Academic Center, surprised her students with a visit from McCaffrey.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to have fans at our games so far this year,” said McCaffrey. “But that’s changing this week. And I know Mrs. Schonour is a big Carolina Panthers fan, so I want to formally invite you guys to be some of the first people to come into this stadium this year, and we want you to be extremely loud. We can’t wait to see you there. I hope to come and say hello from a distance.”

As part of her classroom management, Schonour makes sure her students mute themselves when someone else is talking, according to a release by the district. Schonour told the district, when McCaffrey first joined the Zoom, the students were silent, but thrilled.

“I think they were in shock,” said Schnour. "And then they unmuted themselves to let him know.”

That same release also said Tepper joined Kimberly Bellamy, a Statesville Road Elementary kindergarten teacher, to invite her and her colleagues to the game.

“I know things have been tough in the pandemic,” said Tepper. “I really appreciate the dedication you have. I love teachers. We’d like to invite you to the game this Sunday. We appreciate you, and all the teachers there are invited to the game against the [Arizona] Cardinals on Sunday.”

Bellamy told the district she is still in shock after the surprise. “I am honored to be chosen,” she said. “There have been a lot of unknown these past few months and things we don’t have control over. This is what a sense of normalcy feels like.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, fans have not been allowed in the stadium for the Panther’s season so far. The stadium will open to fans at 7 percent capacity on Oct 4.

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