Some Cincinnati Bengals players helped John P. Parker School celebrate a renewed commitment to healthy living and exercise, all made possible by a grant from the Mideast chapter of the American Dairy Association (ADA Mideast) and Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60).
The Hometown Grant provides John P. Parker with a new refrigerator, an addition to its outdoor play area, a new rock-climbing wall to be installed later in the school year and expanded physical exercise programming.
“Health and wellness is a big part of our Vision 2020 focus on Global Environmental Literacy,” said Rondale Dixon, physical education teacher and the school’s program advisor for Fuel Up to Play 60. “We are grateful for this grant. It’s a perfect fit for our school and community.”
To celebrate this achievement, special guests visited the school to present the check and get students excited about the new program. Representatives from ADA Midwest brought Cincinnati Bengals Defensive End Michael Johnson and Linebacker Vinny Rey. Four Ben-Gal cheerleaders and Who Dey, the Bengals mascot, also attended the check presentation.
Students across all grade levels anxiously awaited their arrival. They wore Bengals spiritwear and lined the halls with signs they personally made, chanting “Who Dey!” as soon as Johnson and Rey were in sight.
Johnson and Rey visited two sixth-grade classrooms, fielding questions from students and talking about school, sports and life in general. Students could ask anything, from what the players’ routines are like on game days to how they spend their time in the off season. Many of Johnson and Rey’s messages pertained to the importance of staying healthy, looking out for their friends and family and concentrating on academics.
“Try as many different things as you can,” Johnson told the students. “I tried Taekwondo and gymnastics, football and basketball. Don’t limit yourself — be it athletics or academics — because you never know what you’re going to blossom into.”
After visiting classrooms, the school’s FUTP 60 student ambassadors joined Johnson and Rey in the gym for a meet-and-greet. Mr. Dixon and the student ambassadors later walked Johnson and Rey outside to see where the new gaga pit was being installed. They also visited the area in the cafetorium where the new refrigerator will be placed.
“It means a lot to have the opportunity to enhance our physical activity, as well as provide more options for our food and nutrition programs,” Dixon told the students, Bengals players and representatives from ADA Mideast.
Of course, the visit would not have been complete without some physical activity. The students were eager to play a pickup game of ultimate football with Johnson and Rey, who graciously obliged. The Ben-Gals and Who Dey even joined in on the fun.
Learn more and keep up with the exciting things happening at John P. Parker School, as well as the school’s Vision 2020 program on Global Environmental Literacy, at parker.cps-k12.org.