Tampa Middle School makes history during 94th Oscar nominations

Two people standing side by side inside of a gym

Thaddeus M. Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School, named in honor of local superhero Titus O’Neil, made Academy Awards history today. The 94th Annual Oscar Nominations were broadcast live on ABC, and during the broadcast hosts show the live feed over to Tampa’s own TMB Academy where Titus O’Neil and standout student athlete Kourtney Anderson announced the nominations for Best Animated Film.

This is the first time in award show history that a nomination was read out at a middle school.  Kourtney Anderson, an eighth grade track star, and high honor roll student, was chosen for her continued academic excellence at the school.


“Kourtney is a rose that continues to grow through concrete,” Bullard said in a release on WWE.com. “We selected Kourtney for a myriad of reasons, but the number one reason is because of her heart and smile that will both one day change the world for good.”

Thaddeus M Bullard Academy gets national spotlight

“Today we not only got to celebrate the best in cinema, but we got to celebrate diversity and the first black producer in Oscar history,” Bullard said in the same interview for WWE. “Our foundation is about providing opportunities to youths in our most struggling neighborhoods to inspire them and to show them that anything is possible. We continue to try to bring opportunities to these kids to level the playing field and expand their minds far beyond their circumstances. I can’t thank Will Packer and the Academy enough for this amazing opportunity for exposure which will surely lead to expansion for so many of these kids and families.”

The school was named in honor of the WWE star back in October 2021. This done to celebrate O’Neil’s myriad contributions in the Tampa Bay region.

Will Packer, who was born and raised in neighboring St. Petersburg, is set to produce the 94th Annual Oscars.

The Bullard Family Foundation was started in 2018 by Thaddeus Bullard, aka WWE’s Titus O’Neil. Its mission is to provide families and children everywhere with moments, programs, and resources to help build character and improve outcomes in communities. The Foundation is headquartered in Tampa.


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