Packers present $15,000 grant to Hortonville schools
By Scott Bellile
At Greenville Middle School, leading healthy lifestyles landed students a once-in-a-lifetime reward – a Monday afternoon getting active with the Green Bay Packers.
Packers football players Morgan Burnett, Jayrone Elliott, Demetri Goodson, Datone Jones, Nate Palmer and Mike Pennel dropped by GMS on Nov. 17 to present the $15,000 NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 fitness grant to Hortonville Area School District. Afterward, kids in the Play 60 club got to kick and toss footballs alongside the players.
“I think it is the coolest thing,” GMS physical education teacher Cindy Kolkema said about the Packers’ visit. “I’m almost speechless. I couldn’t wait for this day to happen just for the kids.”
To land the grant, HASD developed a Play 60 program. Play 60 is an initiative by the NFL, National Dairy Council and U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote nutrition and 60 minutes of structured play every day.
HASD’s six schools will each get $2,500 to purchase items for physical education and fitness programs.
“We appreciate the generosity of Play 60 and the Packers,” GMS health teacher William Brown said. “That money is going to be used to keep our school active and healthy.”
Brown and Kolkema said GMS deserved the grant because its serves healthy meals, its Play 60 membership is high and it provides facilities for early-morning playtime three days per week. Kolkema said an average of 60 to 80 kids make the choice to come play before school on a given day.
The kids held handmade welcome signs and chanted “Go, Pack, Go” in the cold and mist Nov. 17 as the Packers descended the bus and navigated a tunnel of kids to the school doors.
Inside, the Packers participated in a Q&A session led by students Tannyr Locy and Kathryn McDicken. Palmer said he’d like to have the superpower to fly because traffic is a nightmare in his native Chicago. Goodson’s game day routine includes eating eggs over easy, hot tubbing and jamming to Taylor Swift. And Pennel admitted his biggest obstacle to healthy eating is Wisconsin’s cheese curds.
“They’re definitely really funny, all of them,” eighth-grade student Austin Breitbach said after the Packers’ talk.
Burnett told reporters he and his team enjoyed promoting healthy habits to youth in a hands-on way that still lets them be kids.
“It means a lot, especially when you have your brothers with you. It really means a lot,” Burnett said. “You just see the passion that they have [as you’re] giving back. It really makes you want to do more.”
Eighth-grade student Delaney Schanhofer said playing with the stars she sees on TV for one afternoon in Greenville was a special experience.
“This was the best thing in the world,” Schanhofer said.