NFL awards $16K for physically active students

Atlanta Falcons player visits elementary school

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CUMMING, Ga. — Hundreds of ecstatic elementary students lined the front of their school’s parking lot with pom-poms and banners in hand for the arrival of an honorary guest – Atlanta Falcons offensive running back Steven Jackson.

On Dec. 3, Jackson, Freddie Falcon and Falcons cheerleaders visited Shiloh Point Elementary, 8145 Majors Road, to celebrate the school’s devotion to healthy lifestyles.

The school was chosen to receive $16,000 in grant money through the Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness program.

The program was founded by the CUMMING, Ga. — Hundreds of ecstatic elementary students lined the front of their school’s parking lot with pom-poms and banners in hand for the arrival of an honorary guest – Atlanta Falcons offensive running back Steven Jackson.

On Dec. 3, Jackson, Freddie Falcon and Falcons cheerleaders visited Shiloh Point Elementary, 8145 Majors Road, to celebrate the school’s devotion to healthy lifestyles.

The school was chosen to receive $16,000 in grant money through the Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness program.

The program was founded by the National Dairy Council, the National Football League and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to empower students to take charge in making small, everyday changes at school. Students can win prizes, like an NFL player visit or Super Bowl tickets, for choosing good-for-you foods and getting active for at least 60 minutes everyday.

Physical education coach Cate Hernandez said she entered the school into the contest and wrote three essays that described how the students’ efforts proved them worthy of the awards.

“You’ve worked so hard the past couple years by eating healthy, doing those 60 minutes every day and making those healthy choices,” Hernandez told students gathered at the assembly.

Jackson and Freddie Falcon signed autographs for the school in the principal’s office before entering the gym filled with screaming fans.

Jackson told students about his healthy lifestyle choices and encouraged students to continue with theirs.

“If you can’t play football, go outside and run around, ride a bike, do jumping jacks or jump rope,” Jackson said. “And, for those of you who can fly, I encourage you to fly.”

The director of government and community of affairs for Comcast, Deanna Jones, also joined Jackson in congratulating the students for their achievements, because Comcast donated $10,000 of the total awarded.

Hernandez said the school will allocate the grant money toward physical education equipment, healthy smoothies and a track.

Five selected students were able to ask Jackson questions.

Fifth-grader Suba Senthil asked if there were going to be any healthy concessions at the new Falcons stadium.

“I do think there will be healthy food choices and stands at the new stadium,” Jackson said. “But, first things first, you have to help me teach your classmates on what those right decisions are.”

After the assembly, 50 students stayed in the gym to participate in the NFL Play 60 Ultimate P.E. class.

Shiloh Point is one of 34 schools in the country chosen as an NFL Play 60 Super School.

Hernandez said these students were fifth-graders who completed a total of 25 miles in the school’s 100-mile running club, or were second- through fifth-graders who were health leaders in their classrooms.

The Play 60 staff set up five stations – quarterback, running back, defensive back, a fitness station and an optical course.

Each station lasted for one song before the group would rotate to the next station, while Jackson rotated periodically to ensure interaction with each student.

“This is a great program,” Jackson said. “I am happy to be here and be a part of this.”