NBFA grad excels on the football field, wins spot in Australian tournament

BRIDGEPORT -- New Beginnings Family Academy alumni and now standout linebacker at Notre Dame Fairfield is on his way Down Under, but he needs a bit of help. 

Jaidyn Cummings, 14, a 2018 NBFA graduate, was recently honored by local leaders including Sen. Richard Blumenthal for earning a coveted spot at the Down Under Sports Tournament - some 9,666 miles from his Bridgeport home - on the Gold Coast of Australia. Now, he needs help to raise the money needed to travel to Australia on June 30, his birthday. Cummings must raise $4,100 for the trip.  

“He had a great experience in the Bridgeport charter’s youth program,” said first-year Notre Dame Fairfield football coach John Johnson. “He came to us with an extensive skill set.” 

Cummings made honorable mention on the 2018 All-South-West Conference Football Teams and led Notre Dame in Tackles as a freshman this past season.  

Off the gridiron, Johnson said Cummings is a coach’s dream. 

“When you teach him something, he picks it up very quickly,” he said. “Though undersized as a freshman athlete, he was one of the toughest. We expect him to be one of the leaders next year.” 

Cummings, who brought a smile to every NBFA educator who heard he was honored, said two of his most influential teachers were Mr. Joseph Brigante and Ms. Kim Dawson-Gibbs because they encouraged him to stay on task. 

“You can have ups and downs, but the goal is to stay on task,” Cummings said. “My goal is college and if I can’t get to the NFL, I want to be an accountant.” 

Shannon Cummings, Jaidyn’s aunt and guardian, said she was floored when she heard the news of his honor. 

“I guess they have recruiters that go through his stats and he, as a freshman on varsity doing so well, was a standout,” she said. “I was floored. ‘How was this possible?!’” 

Down Under Sports (International Sports Specialists, Inc.) was founded in February 1989 when four states produced a handful of teams to present athletes from almost all 50 states to compete in the Down Under Bowl, Hoops Classic and International Games.  The goal is to use the common language of sports to bridge the continents. 

To help contribute to Cummings’ travel expenses, visit https://downundersports.com/payment/VZC-IVN. 

About New Beginnings Family Academy  

New Beginnings Family Academy (NBFA) is a tuition-free public charter school for students in grades Pre-K through 8th, located in Bridgeport, CT. Our mission is to provide students with a meaningful, high-quality education through experience-based learning that helps them develop essential social, emotional and critical-thinking skills. This gives all children the necessary foundation to achieve their full potential at every stage of life. To accomplish our goal of preparing students for life-long success, we work with experts from Bank Street College of Education to implement a progressive education model with emotionally responsive practice.  

This model attends to the whole child, not just academics, and focuses on developing collaborative, socially responsible leaders by organically weaving ethics and character-building into daily instruction in small-class settings.  Our student-focused approach brings out the best in each child by getting to know them individually, encouraging curiosity, and fostering their personal interests.   

All NBFA students are selected through a blind lottery, and there are no admissions criteria.  

To learn more visit www.nbfacademy.org