Seymour School District chosen for $10,000 grant from the NFL and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board
Green Bay Packer, Corey Linsley, walks through a tunnel of green and gold pom-poms. – Photo by Nancy Cipollone
By Nancy Cipollone
On a quiet, sunny Tuesday afternoon the community of Seymour carried on as usual. For those that were out and about on Nov. 28, you might have noticed a mass of green and gold come through our quiet little community. Was it an asteroid? No. Trailblazing through our part of the cheesehead state was a decorated school bus carrying none other than the Green Bay Packers.
Four selected Packer players graced Seymour with their presence for one reason: presenting the Seymour School District with a $10,000 check.
It wasn’t a quiet Tuesday on the grounds of the Seymour School District. Approximately 1,200 people gathered in the school’s field house to witness the recognition of the district receiving the Hometown Grant.
The Packers, along with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) and the Seymour School District hosted the event. All came together for one reason: to celebrate and keep the commitment to youth health and wellness through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
The jam-packed, high energy event started with a special bus ride starting at Rock Ledge Intermediate School. Inside the yellow bus were 12 Seymour students, school staff and four Packer players: Mr. Magic Leg, Mason Crosby; Corey “up for the challenge” Linsley; Aaron Ripkowski (aka: The Green Ripper as Wayne Larrivee calls him); and pro punter, Justin Vogel.
Inside the bus, students were in awe of the green and gold real-life figures…until the ice was broken, “How was your Thanksgiving,” Crosby asked all the kids. Conversations and questions about everyone’s holiday feast to “how long are you gonna play football” occurred on the short ride from the elementary school to the high school.
Meanwhile, over a thousand people patiently waited inside the Seymour High School Field House for the green and gold to arrive. Trying to keep the crowd motivated (which wasn’t needed) the high school band kept up the beat while energizing the excited crowd. Outside you could hear — and feel — the beat of every note.
Moments before the opening of the program, there was an uproar of excitement when Pete Kempen, Director of Business Services of Rock Ledge Intermediate School, announced the start of the program. Making their grand entrance, the leather ball warriors entered running through a paper banner. The “Pack” of four were greeted by students and staff wearing every accessory of green and gold imaginable.
Opening the program was Amber Thompson, Seymour School District Nurse. Thompson explained the history of Fuel Up to Play 60 — a student foundation that is committed to educating and living a healthy lifestyle through eating and exercise. The program has an in-school nutrition and physical activity program that was followed by the students of Seymour and recognized by the WMMB.
After some serious talk, it was time for a few laughs. And what better way to create laughter than at the teacher’s expense. That’s right, four teachers were put under the spotlight. How? By making each of them wear a costume. Not just any costume. Milk carton costumes: two percent white, one percent white, chocolate milk and strawberry milk. Was that enough humiliation? No, not according to what was on the agenda. Adding a fun dose of torture along with humiliation, the school staff was ordered to run a race….in costume. A visual no one will ever get out of their head.
The program continued with the famous four speaking on behalf of a healthy lifestyle. Afterward students were granted a question and answer session. Some very intense questions were asked — one in particular. Not about a game plan. Not about Sunday’s score. A question that was much more inquisitive and very personal. “What is your favorite ice cream,” asked elementary student George Van Schyndel. An immediate break-out of laughter occurred. The topic loosened the crowd up. “Strawberry,” answered Linsley. “Cookies and cream,” Ripkowski replied. Crosby piped in, “Chocolate chip and Oreo,” which made the crowd roar. “Vanilla caramel,” added Vogel.
Closing the program was Karen Doster of the WMMB. She presented the larger-than-life check to Thompson. Everyone on stage took a hand in holding the check as high as possible. At that very moment the spectators stood up and raised their hands applauding — their hard work paid off.
The final curtain call was indicated by 1,200 people chanting, “Go Pack Go”. Not a single person was sitting down. Green and gold pom-poms were swaying like ocean waves and balloons were rising to attention as the crowd’s energy was increasing again.
Approximately 1,120 people left and continued on with their school day. The other 80 were invited to stay and participate in a workout session. The selected student members participated in a healthy workout with the Packers.
All good things must come to an end and with that, the Packers bid their farewell and congratulations to the district and headed back to the decorated yellow bus.
“An important part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program is emphasizing that kids don’t get enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy,” explained Doster. The definition, or break-down, of the program is simple: Fuel up = healthy food and Play 60 = 60 minutes of exercise. “This was an awesome event, it was great to see the district so excited about earning these dollars,” Doster added. The program is coordinated by the Green Bay Packers along with the WMMB.
Thompson added to the emotional excitement, “We are excited to be recognized for our efforts. The money will go toward physical education equipment and outdoor recess equipment.”
“This was a special day,” said Ryan Fencl, Youth football Coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, “it was an enjoyable event for kids, players, teachers and everyone involved.”
Thompson had one final comment, “This was one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my career.”
The WMMB is a non-profit organization that is farmer-owned and farmer-directed. Established in 1983, the organization voted to established a milk marketing program which involved for every 100 pounds of milk produced and marketed in the state, 10 cents goes to WMMB to promote Wisconsin produced dairy products.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school program promoting eating healthy and physical activity. It was launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Locally, the Wisconsin Fuel Up to Play 60 is coordinated by the Green Bay Packers and the WMMB.
The Green Bay Packers, along with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, presented the Seymour School District with a $10,000 grant. – Photo by Nancy Cipollone