NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans mascot T-Rac joined Tennessee State Parks rangers and mascot Ramble the Raccoon on Friday at Kirkpatrick Enhanced Option School to deliver messages about the importance of eating healthy, staying active and studying for classroom assignments.
The Pre-K to fourth-grade students gave the guests a rousing welcome and listened attentively to the interactive program. T-Rac's energetic antics generated laughs, smiles and applause, and rangers also delivered "wow moments" by showing students a corn snake named Zipper and told them about the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors at one of the state's 54 parks.
Titans cornerback Jason McCourty, quarterback Jake Locker and coach Mike Munchak spoke to the children via remote video connection, reinforcing the NFL PLAY 60 and Fuel Up to Play 60 campaigns that encourage active lifestyles and nutritional foods.
"This is amazing. I'm really tickled about this," Pre-K blended classroom teacher Katie Elam said. "I don't think this is a day they'll forget. Titans and T-Rac and a snake in one day is a huge thing in a 4-year-old's life."
Elam's class of students at multiple levels of development recently won full-funding for a grant proposal as the Titans' representative in the NFL PLAY 60 DonorsChoose.org Showdown. Elam submitted the proposal called "Character, Community, and Connections" to acquire books and other educational items like puzzles and posters to reinforce the school's three rules: be respectful, be responsible, and be safe.
The proposal was selected to go against a proposal from a Pittsburgh classroom in conjunction with the recent Titans-Steelers game on Thursday Night Football in which Tennessee claimed a 26-23 victory. Titans fans helped the Kirkpatrick classroom by submitting 4,589 votes compared to 2,820 votes for the Pittsburgh school, and Elam said she was grateful for all the support.
Elam said NFL PLAY 60 has already transferred the funding to the vendors who are providing the classroom materials, and the materials were in shipping as of Friday morning.
Titans VP of Community Relations Bob Hyde presented Elam's classroom and Kirkpatrick Principal Sandra Moorman with special footballs to commemorate the school's win. Hyde said it was impressive for the school to be chosen to represent the Titans and even better that fans supported it so well.
Moorman said the assembly brought excitement to the students and reinforced the school's efforts to instill the importance of making healthy choices and being good citizens.
"We've been talking about staying physical, talking about healthy plates," Moorman said. "We changed the menu in the cafeteria to eat more fruits and vegetables, so this really broadens up the avenue for the students to learn what they need to in order to make good grades. I think it's been great, and the kids really enjoyed it."
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post requests, and individuals can give directly to the ones that inspire them. To date, 240,000 public and charter school teachers have used DonorsChoose.org to secure $121 million in books, art supplies, technology, and other resources that their students need to learn.