Black Diamond Elementary Receives NFL Play 60 Grant

Black Diamond Elementary was one of 34 schools from across the country selected as a winner in the NFL PLAY 60 Super School Contest. The honor includes a $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 grant to be used for health and wellness programming or equipment.

The school received the grant because fifth-grade teacher Jill Forza said she responded to an NFL Play 60 prompt on her social media page this summer. She said she shared how her class uses Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson and his video as a role model.

“It’s got a great message,” she said. “We pick out quotes, like he talks about his father told him to always persevere and keep a great perspective and have great purpose in life. We put those things up on a bulletin board and all year long we refer to it.”

Seahawks Deshawn Shead, Chandler Fenner, Brian Walters and Phil Bates, joined by Sea Gals Tamaria and Zoë came to the school for the health and wellness assembly of a lifetime Dec. 10

“They chose Black Diamond Elementary for making good choices about staying healthy and supporting the Seahawks,” Principal Gerrie Garton said during the health and wellness assembly.

Forza said she also incorporates Seahawk statistics into her math curriculum with students figuring percentages and tallying yards gained.

Russell Wilson talks about how do you give back, she said.

“It is so rich in character building we will watch it several times a year,” Forza said.

“What is your purpose? What changes can you make to be more successful, even if it’s a simple math problem."

And, of course, there’s the physical education piece – the Play 60.

Teacher Susan Smith offers students a 30-minute, twice weekly physical education program as well as a mileage club and at home assignments to keep students moving.

“Even kids who are not Seahawk fans or don’t like football can connect in some way,” Forza said.

The NFL PLAY 60 Super School programs are designed to inspire students to make healthy choices.

“I drink a lot of water,” Shead told students. “About a gallon a day.”

Shead, Fenner, Walters, Bates, and the Sea Gals, said they stay healthy by eating vegetables and lean meat and exercising. They also said they believe in themselves, listen to their parents and still study, although now it might be playbooks instead of science, which came out as the Seahawks’ favorite school subject.

Some students also participated in an NFL PLAY 60 Ultimate Fitness class with the Seahawks and Sea Gals.

During the season, the Seahawks make about 15 to 20 “Play 60 Tuesday” school visits, but this visit was special because it came with a $10,000 check.

Terry Davis, director of government affairs at Comcast Cable, the local NFL network affiliate, presented the check and emphasized the importance of staying active.

“We know what motivation and inspiration can do for kids,” Davis said. “Have fun today, but take away from this, what the Seahawks here said, find a why to stay fit mentally and physically.”

Garton said the grant would be used to build a community walking and jogging path around the school’s field so the elementary school mileage program has a place to continue its program and the school can host fundraising walk-a-thons.


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