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    Lincolnwood Students Surprise Al Netter With Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Award

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    Just like he has been doing since the day he arrived at Northwestern, senior offensive tackle Al Netter volunteered for some community service work Wednesday afternoon. Netter traveled to Lincolnwood Elementary School in Evanston for what he thought would be a reading and Q&A session with a fourth grade class, but instead the afternoon turned into a party in his honor.

    In September, Netter was chosen as one of 11 Football Bowl Subdivision members of the Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works TeamĀ® in recognition of his dedication to community service and off-the-field accomplishments. This marks the sixth consecutive year a Wildcat has been among the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision players chosen, the longest streak for any school in the program's 20-year history.

    A Northwestern captain and member of NU's Leadership Council for the last two years, Netter has started 42 consecutive games at left tackle for the Wildcats and is a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten performer.

    Off the field, the Rohnert Park, Calif., native has gone to great lengths to help those less fortunate at home and abroad. In 2010, Netter traveled to Guatemala an alternative spring break trip during which he helped cultivate farmland for local residents as well as teach English and prepare meals at an orphanage. More recently, Netter was a founding member of the Northwestern chapter of Uplifting Athletes which raises money for individuals with Niemann-Pick Type C, a rare genetic cholesterol storage disorder that deteriorates the nervous system.

    On Wednesday, the Lincolnwood students created a life-size Al Netter drawing in anticipation of his visit. In addition, they made a banner congratulating him on his award -- a banner which remained hidden until the appropriate moment. After Netter read the book, he took questions from the students for a few minutes before Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald opened the door and walked into the room, much to the surprise of Netter and to the delight of the students.

    Television cameras and representatives from Allstate and the AFCA Good Works TeamĀ® also entered the room, and the award presentation and party was on. Students posed with Netter and Coach Fitz, displaying their banner and some football schedule posters brought along by NU Athletic Department staffers.

    Wednesday's ceremony is not the end of the celebration. As part of the honor, Netter is invited to attend the Allstate Sugar Bowl for a ceremony and associated service projects in the New Orleans area.

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