MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns quarterback
Weeden, tight ends
After an assembly for the entire school, the Browns joined with students from Mrs. Krajniak’s first-grade class for an ultimate gym class.
“To have the opportunity to come out here and spend a couple hours to let go and have fun with these kids is a lot of fun for us,” Weeden said. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing.
“As a kid, I was as active as could be. I didn’t play video games; I didn’t do those things. That was kind of my message. I remember I was always the most competitive kid in class, so, I wanted to win everything we did. I took it pretty seriously and I’m sure it caused a couple fights back in the day, but recess and gym class were always my two favorite classes.”
Through the Back to Football campaign at the beginning of the 2012 NFL season, schools around the country were encouraged to enter the NFL Play 60 Super School contest and submit essays about how they showed their enthusiasm for their NFL team and used football in their lesson plans. The schools were also asked to express their commitment to youth health-and-wellness in physical education classes and how teachers encouraged being active and eating healthy meals.
Through the NFL Play 60 Super School contest, a school in each of the league’s 32 markets and two out-of-market schools were selected to receive a grant to purchase new health-and-wellness equipment.
The players helped the students get their 60 minutes of exercise through an NFL Play 60 Keep Gym in School Physical Education Class and the NFL donated the equipment used in the gym class. Through the Keep Gym in School program, the NFL Network and its affiliates will provide each Super School’s district with an additional $10,000.
When the Browns’ school bus arrived at Big Creek Elementary School, the entire 900-child student body formed a gauntlet that led the players into the building.
“It feels great to see the kids’ excitement and the enjoyment when they’re building in 60 minutes of activity every day,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “What we’re seeing is kids going home and telling their parents, ‘This is the right choice. This is the healthy choice. I want something healthier.’ That’s when you know this program is working, when it’s becoming part of their lifestyle and we hope to see this trend increase over the years and child obesity rates decrease.”
Mrs. Krajniak is using some innovative methods to encourage 60 minutes of physical activity and decrease childhood obesity. Her students participate in many physical, hands-on exercises, including using movement activities in reading and language studies, as well as jumping, hopping and clapping during counting practice.
Krajniak and Big Creek Elementary principal John Brzozowski feel Tuesday’s visit will go a long way in helping the students maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
“It just warms my heart,” Krajniak said. “What an inspirational message. What a fantastic opportunity to learn from their mentors. It’s just wonderful. This is a moment that they’ll never forget. We’ll remember it always. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so we’re blessed to have this.”
Brzozowski added, “To have these guys come out and spend time with our kids, when you look around, I think they’re having as much, if not more fun than our children are. It’s nice because I heard a long time ago that athletes don’t want to be role models. If you look around here, these guys do. They accept it. They’re doing a fantastic job. They’re promoting a good lifestyle. We all look up to them. It’s very special.”
For more information on NFL PLAY 60 visit nflrush.com/play60.