Julia Bonin, a third grade teacher at Millsmont Academy, 3200 62nd Ave, knew she had to be creative in establishing a mechanism to impact the lives of her students beyond the confines of a classroom.
“I grew up loving football and I knew that was a big part of my students life as well,” Bonin said. “…I have very little in common with my students, in terms of demographics, but where we were able to find common ground and build relationships was with our love for football.”
She wrote an essay explaining that dynamic and entered it into the NFL’s PLAY 60 Super School Contest. The contest emphasizes the league wide PLAY 60 campaign that looks to promote active lifestyles by engaging in 60 minutes of activity daily.
Bonin’s essay won and Millsmont Academy was selected to receive a visit from Raiders players, the Raiderettes, and the team’s mascot, the Raider Rusher.
The school was also awarded a $10,000 grant for health and wellness programs in addition to the NFL donating fitness equipment to be used during physical education classes.
Players in attendance were Charles Woodson, Tyvon Branch Brice Butler, Jon Condo, Lamarr Houston, Phillip Adams, Tracy Porter, Marcel Reece, and Raider Legend Willie Brown.
Students were able to ask the players questions about their eating habits, workout regiments, and the importance of staying fit. Players also talked to students about the importance of education and setting goals.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the Raider nation, without Oakland, to be blunt, without the hood,” said Fullback Marcel Reece. “This is what we are about, this what we stand for, this is our heart.”
Bonin knows the day will benefit the students for years to come and she couldn’t ask for anything more.
“I can tell these students are going to remember this day for the rest of their lives and I hope that they heard the message, that being active is important,” she said. “[And] I know they heard that all these players went to college and that’s the biggest goal for our students.”
For more information about PLAY 60, visit www.nflrush.com/play60