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Titus O'Neil helps make history with 94th Academy Awards nomination

WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil and the Thaddeus M. Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School made history this morning on ABC'S "Good Morning America" Oscars nomination special.

For the first time in its 94-year-history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced an Academy Award nomination from a middle school. And that middle school was the Thaddeus M. Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School in Tampa, Fla.

O’Neil, whose real name is Thaddeus Bullard, and his Bullard Family Foundation, have focused much of his work at the school and the Tampa Bay area.

Alongside O’Neil, 14-year-old Kourtney Anderson, an eighth grade track sensation, high honor roll student, and a rising star, tag teamed and announced the nomination for best animated feature live from the school gym this morning.

“Kourtney is a rose that continues to grow through concrete,” Bullard said. “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.”

"Good Morning America"  broadcasted the nomination live from Los Angeles with Emmy-winning actor-comedian Leslie Jordan ("Will & Grace," "The Help") and Emmy-nominated actor-CEO-producer Tracee Ellis Ross ("black-ish," "The High Note"). From LA, the cameras moved to Tampa where Kourtney was accompanied by Bullard, her great grandmother, who is the matriarch of their family, classmates, and Bullard Family Foundation supporters.

The live feeds from various locations were something new for the Oscars this year and was inspired by Emmy-nominated producer Will Packer, the first African-American tapped to produce the Academy Awards in its 94-year history. The awards will be held on Sunday, March 27, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

“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. “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.”