After being selected as the NFL Play 60 Super School, Butte des Morts not only got a special visit from Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, but also a $10,000 grant for health and wellness programming and equipment.
With Green Bay Packers music playing in the school's main office and students lining up outside to welcome their special guest, it was clear this day was one the entire school had been waiting for.
As soon as Hawk pulled up to the school, students began to chant 'Go Pack Go,' while jumping up and down, to give their guest a warm welcome.
More than 5,500 schools entered the Back to Football Friday contest at www.NFLRUSH/com/BackToFootball and submitted photos of their school and answered brief essay questions for a chance to be named an NFL Super School.
And in great part to the spirit of the school and its active parents and staff, Butte des Morts Principal Bill Gillespie knows their contribution played a large role in making this possible.
"We are honored that the Packers and the NFL were able to give us this special day," Gillespie said. "I really believe it is our school spirit and culture at our school that helped us win this grant and event.
"All of our parents and staff are very active within the school and that is something we are lucky to have."
As the students filled the school's commons area, the detailed decorations and Green and Gold apparel worn by nearly every student demonstrated just how appreciative and enthusiastic the school was for the visit.
"I can't tell you how excited the whole school has been leading up to today," Gillespie said. "I don't know who was more excited, the students or the teachers.
"We know how important it is to promote a healthy lifestyle for our students and this is just a great opportunity to do so.
Before the selected students headed to the gym for the Ultimate NFL Physical Education Class, the entire school got to meet and greet the linebacker and learn a little bit more about the man behind the uniform.
Several students were chosen to ask Hawk a question ranging from his pregame meal to what he does when he's not playing football. After closing the ceremony with their school song, the chosen students headed to gym for the Ultimate NFL Physical Education Class with Hawk.
"Each teacher chose one student from their class to participate in today's special gym class with A.J. Hawk," Gillespie said. "We tried to involve as many students in today's event and I know the students selected for the gym class are very appreciative."
Students stayed active participating in five different physical stations including agility drills such as hula-hooping, football sprints, jump roping, and even a weight lifting station. Once each station was complete, the students took a breather and a water break before a quick game of flag football.
Hawk made sure to participate in each and every activity as the students, as he knows the importance of staying fit.
"I think Play 60 is a great program started by the NFL," Hawk said. "I got started with the program a few years ago and it is just a fun way to get the message across, to keep kids active.
"The kids have been great so far. This is the best part of the job, just coming out here and having fun with all of them. Their gym teacher has set up five different stations for us to participate in, basically just show them a few options of how they can stay active."
And from the huffs and puffs from each student by the end of class, they had definitely made the most of their 60 minutes of activity.
"Today was great," Hawk said. "It's good to see people be proactive about the issue and help get kids moving and to live a healthier lifestyle," Hawk said.
About NFL PLAY 60
In October 2007, the NFL launched PLAY 60, a national youth health and wellness campaign focused on increasing the health and wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health with an impressive roster of partner organizations. In addition to national reach through PSAs and online programs, PLAY 60 is also implemented at the grassroots level through NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs.
The "NFL Play 60 Super School" program focuses on inspiring students to make healthy choices. The winning schools got the opportunity to host a visit from their favorite NFL player and participate in the Ultimate NFL Physical Education Class. The chosen player helped the students get 60 minutes of exercise, as part of the NFL Play 60 youth health and wellness campaign.
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