Playing with the Packers
W-F receives $10,000 grant
By Angie Landsverk
Green Bay Packers players DeShone Kizer and James Looney visited Weyauwega-Fremont High School Tuesday, Nov. 27, to deliver a $10,000 grant to the school district.
The grant is going to Weyauwega Elementary, Fremont Elementary and W-F Middle School to fund new healthy eating and physical education equipment for the schools.
Each school has a Fuel Up to Play 60 team.
“Your Fuel Up to Play 60 teams have been selected by the Green Bay Packers to receive extra funds this year in conjunction with NFL Play 60,” said Beth Porior Schaefer, of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
Many in attendance gasped when the amount of the grant was revealed.
The district usually receives $500 grants for each of its three Fuel Up to Play 60 teams.
This year, it is receiving the $10,000 grant, as well as $500 for each of the schools.
“A big hand to your team members and advisers for this opportunity,” Schaefer said.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 Hometown Grant is from the NFL, Green Bay Packers and Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.
Every NFL team, through Fuel Up to Play 60, gives a $10,000 grant to a school district in its market.
“I’ve been working with them for about six years, and they’ve grown the program,” Schaefer said of W-F’s schools. “They just do a tremendous job of advocating eating healthy and being active, so we nominated them.”
This is the seventh year W-F schools are part of the program.
The schools have hosted a number of events, including wellness nights and the annual Color Run.
Two years ago, former Packers player Morgan Burnett visited the district.
“We’re so excited,” Rachel Carson said of the $10,000 grant.
Carson and Kristen Hanten are the advisers of Weyauwega Elementary’s team.
Hanten said the grant dollars are being divided based on the number of students at each school.
One idea the advisers are considering for Weyauwega Elementary is a snack/smoothie cart.
They are also interested in getting new playground equipment for the elementary students.
At Fremont Elementary, Shari Foster and Traci Zietlow advise that school’s team.
Mary Pope is the adviser of the middle school team.
“Fremont Elementary and the middle school will spend the money differently,” Hanten said.
Kizer and Looney spent a little more than an hour in the school district.
They rode a school bus from Fremont Elementary to W-F High School, where an assembly was held for all the district’s approximately 900 students.
The high school band played, and students and staff chanted “Go Pack Go” before the players arrived.
The gym was decorated with green and gold balloons, and many in attendance wore the jerseys of their favorite players as well as green and gold beads around their necks.
The two Packers fielded questions, submitted by students ahead of time to the Fuel Up to Play 60 teams.
The first question was why the team colors are green and gold for the Packers.
“Great question,” Kizer said. “I’m going to say the gold is for cheese, and the green is for grass stains.”
The students cheered after his response.
When Looney was asked what his favorite dairy food is, he said, “I love milk.”
He told the students he has been drinking milk since he was a youngster.
His father told him he would get big and strong if he drank milk.
“I just woke up 6’3” one day,” Looney said.
Kizer said he played multiple sports in high school and was “blessed enough to get drafted last year and now be with the Packers this year.”
Looney said because the Green Bay Packers is a community-owned team, “everything we do is for the community.”
It is about giving back and having the “ooportunity to come speak to a crowd like this,” he said.
The school district presented each player with a gift basket.
Among the items they received were Weyauwega-Fremont T-shirts, and Kizer tried his on over his jersey.
“It’s kind of like Christmas before Christmas,” said District Administrator Scott Bleck. “Our sincere appreciation to the Green Bay Packers for what they bring to the community.”
After talking to the students about why healthy eating is important, Kizer and Looney headed to the school’s new multi-purpose gym to participate in fitness acivities with members of the Fuel Up to Play 60 teams.
“I want kids to come out and have fun, get out of the classroom. Nutrition is a big thing,” Looney said before the students began playing in the gym.
The defensive end was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
For Kizer, his passion – both on and off the field – is to be a positive influence, he said.
The quarterback was acquired by the Packers last spring in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
Hanten was happy with the event and how the playeres interacted with the students.
“It was just a fun activity,” said fifth grader Jace Weed.
This is his first year on his school’s Fuel Up to Play 60 Team.
Weed plays football, basketball and baseball and said he likes “every fruit, except tomatoes.”
He found the two players to be “chill” and said, “It was fun because Kizer came. I like playing quarterback.”
Schaefer said the teachers who advise the teams are great advocates.
“And they don’t get paid extra to do this,” she said.
The teachers motivate the students.
“All the students in this gym plan the activities,” Schaefer said. “They are student leaders selected through an application process.”
While the money for the grant is from the Green Bay Packers, the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.
The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin’s dairy products.
Schaefer said the organization is lucky to partner with the Green Bay Packers to bring opportunities like this to schools.
“It’s super cool for this school district,” she said. “Waupaca County is a big dairy county.”