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Laurinaitis Presents Rogers Middle School with Check

Posted Nov 18, 2011

When the bell for fourth period rang at Rogers Middle School on Tuesday November 15, a special guest reported to the gymnasium -- Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis. Third year veteran and defensive leader Laurinaitis made a visit to the middle school in Affton to present the school with a $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 Health and Wellness grant.

In honor of the special visitor the school was outfitted in Rams blue and gold. Rams banners hung from the hallways and students were outfitted in Rams and NFL PLAY 60 gear with a background of fight music. Cheers, screams and rally chants made for a gameday atmosphere for the Rams star.

Laurinaitis, along with Rampage and Rams cheerleaders Kristin and Kayla, was on hand to participate in an assembly and Ultimate P.E. Class to congratulate the school for being selected as the $10,000 grant recipient and to recognize its commitment to youth health and wellness.

Also joining in the celebration was James’ dad, former professional wrestler, Joe Laurinaitis. Joe attended the event to acknowledge P & G Super Parent Bill Shaw for his contributions and commitment to youth fitness for middle school youth. The school was given an additional $1,000 grant in Mr. Shaw’s name, bringing the total grant to the school to $11,000.

Both father and son, Joe and James, spoke to a full house about the importance of being active everyday and following a healthy diet. James reminded students that a healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day. He broke down his breakfast of six eggs (four egg whites and two whole eggs), a banana and a bowl of steal cut oatmeal. Joe challenged all the kids to prioritize a eating a healthy breakfast as it’s an important way to kick start their day.

After the assembly and a question and answer session, Laurinaitis joined students outside for the Ultimate P.E. Class. Laurinaitis participated in fitness drills alongside the youth including hula hooping, weight lifting, relay races and jump roping and completed an obstacle course.

All the festivities were a result of Rogers Middle School being named an NFL PLAY 60 Super School through its participation in the NFL’s Back to Football Friday competition in September.

Back to Football Friday is a nation-wide celebration that unites fans of all 32 teams to welcome back the NFL football season. Students, teachers and administrators are encouraged to wear their favorite NFL team gear and show their NFL team spirit by organizing Back to Football Friday celebrations at their school on the last Friday before the start of the regular season. Each participant is required to complete a short registration, submit photos and answer three essay questions to be considered for the $10,000 grant. Throughout the nation 34 schools were chosen, one from each NFL market and two from open markets, as NFL Super Schools.

The competition was judged based on event originality shown in submitted photos and captions. The judges also considered the level of NFL passion shown and relevance to health and wellness. Rogers Middle School was selected from over 100 local entries for its unique celebration which included floating footballs in the hallway, football math curriculum, flag football, a trivia “Super Bowl” and students spelling out “Ram” on the field.

Rogers Middle School works hard to instill healthy lifestyle habits in their students. They are participants in the National Dairy Council and NFL’s Fuel Up to PLAY 60 program. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a fun, interactive program that allows students and teachers to decide how to make their school an even healthier place. It is an in-school program that encourages the availability and consumption of nutrient-rich foods, along with at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

Aside from their Fuel up to PLAY 60 efforts, Rogers has also instituted a grab-n-go breakfast, which allows students to have breakfast everyday and created an after school Wii Club, using the game system as an active tool to participate in Zumba and conditioning drills. With the $10,000 grant the school will continue their commitment to health and fitness by installing a walking path at the school which will allow a safe place for the students to walk and exercise. Included in the plans is the installation of fitness zones along the path and the formation of a school walking club.

“The St. Louis Rams are happy, along with the NFL, to acknowledge and congratulate Rogers Middle School for their efforts to make a healthier generation through participation in NFL PLAY 60 and Back to Football Friday,” said Rams Director of Community Outreach Michael Yarbrough. “We are priviliged to be a part of this great celebration of both Rogers Middle School and NFL team spirit.”

NFL PLAY 60 is an NFL initiative aimed at decreasing childhood obesity by encouraging youth to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. For more information visit www.NFLRush.com.

For more information on how to register your school for Back to Football Friday next season and a chance to win a $10,000 grant and Rams celebration please visit www.NFLRush.com/backtofootball.

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