Carolina Panthers surprise Bluffton elementary school with pep rally

BLUFFTON, Sc. (WSAV) – Students at Red Cedar Elementary School in Bluffton got a surprise visit from Carolina Panthers linebacker, Thomas Davis, and kicker, Graham Gano Tuesday morning with a pep rally celebrating the school’s efforts in healthy eating and active lifestyles.

The pep rally was sponsored by Fuel Up to Play 60, a school nutrition and exercise program sponsored by the NFL, National Dairy Council and US Department of Agriculture. This rally involved teachers competing in plank competitions and yogurt eating contests and kids were actually encouraged to scream louder.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s kind of what you dream of growing up, you know you want to play in the NFL but also to be able to give back to the community,” said Graham Gano.
“Just encouraging kids to get outside be active uh pay attention to what they’re putting in their bodies,” said Thomas Davis, “Especially with elementary school kids right now, they’re at a fine age that they can make the right healthy decisions.”

The Beaufort County School District has received more than $40,000 dollars from the program in the past three years, with seven county schools participating. Red Cedar has used the funds to implement things like a yogurt parfait bar in the morning and running clubs.

“We have quite a few schools that are participating, but, you know, the spirit from the staff here at Red Cedar is unparalleled,” said Superintendent Jeff Moss with the school district.

For Gano and Davis, it’s about kids just being kids.

“It is important to get out and play, that’s what we do with our kids,” said Gano.

“As an elementary kid I stayed outside, I was always active,” said Davis, “I know we live in a different world now where electronics are really taking over kids lives, so I feel like it’s even more important for us to get out and express… just being active.”

Red Cedar fourth grader, Jack Black, said “I think it was pretty cool, it was definitely a great surprise. I don’t know how the teachers held it in.”

“I don’t think that much people get to see NFL players in real life,” said Ashton Chambers, another fourth grader.

It truly was a school-day lesson the kids won’t forget.

“To stay healthy and to exercise,”  said third grader, McKenzie Fuentes.

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