The gymnasium at Richard E. Byrd was awash in orange and blue Tuesday as the students, faculty, and staff gathered for a special assembly to welcome Chicago Bears’ player Martellus Bennett. Bennett was on hand to present the school with an NFL PLAY 60 grant on behalf of the National Football League and Comcast.
According to an NFL representative, the NFL PLAY 60 Super School contest selected one school in each of the 32 NFL markets and two non-NFL markets to receive a grant. The NFL’s PLAY 60 campaign encourages children to get 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Earlier this year, three of Byrd’s faculty members submitted the grant application and Byrd was the lucky school selected in the Chicago market to receive the $10,000 grant for health and wellness programming and equipment.
School officials learned they had been selected about a month ago but did not know which Bear player would visit the school. They were told last week that Bennett would be the Bears’ representative and were excited Sunday when Bennett made the long catch to set up the Bears’ game winning field goal in overtime.
The students cheered wildly as Bennett entered the gym. Bennett spent about 20 minutes answering student questions such as “What are your favorite foods to eat before a long practice?” (bananas and apples) and “What is your favorite stadium to play in?” (Soldier Field because of the awesome fans).
Bennett closed the assembly by trying his hand at Dr. Seuss:
“Skit, scat, scadoodle
My goldfish ate my poodle
Which is kind of strange because he usually only eats noodles”
The kids loved it! Bennett really seemed to connect with the children.
After the assembly ended, the students returned to their classrooms. Bennett toured the school greeting the kids and checking out the posters they made. Afterwards he led an NFL PLAY 60 Ultimate Physical Education Class on the playground.