On June 28, a crew of Cranston students traveled to Gillette Stadium for the 2017 Fuel Up to Play 60 New England Reward Celebration.
These students represented Bain, Cranston High School East, Cranston High School West, Gladstone Elementary School and Park View Middle School. Melody Quenga, Avery Hart, Jerry Dorival, Sophia Chan, Vy Ho, Elizabeth Cowart, Caroline Cowart, Xavier Vargas, Marcus Meza, Lily Maguire and Aidan Robinson were all on board for the trip. West’s Sophia Chan is the Rhode Island ambassador for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and was a student leader at the Gillette event in addition to participating in the program locally. The students were accompanied by several staff members from the schools and from the after school and summer learning program staff, as well as by Ayana Crichton, Cranston’s director of after school and summer learning programs which incorporate the program into their own activities and events. Fuel Up to Play 60 is sponsored by the New England Dairy Council and the NFL and emphasizes the importance of students getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day as well as practicing healthy eating habits.
At the event, which drew in students from all over New England, participants had the opportunity to actively engage in events such as a welcome pep rally, a Smoothie Blend Off competition, a Physical Activity Showdown and stadium tours of the facility, which included the chance to come out of the tunnel that the Patriots come out of when entering the field to play. The students also walked away with plenty of swag, including back-packs, t-shirts, and the opportunity to meet several retired Patriots players such as Jermaine Wiggins, Vernon Crawford, Ilia Jarostchuk and running back Dion Lewis, who was credited as being an integral part of this year’s Patriots’ Super Bowl win. Emcee for the day was ESPN’s Field Yates.
The event stressed the importance of incorporating healthy eating and physical activity into the students’ daily lives. The Smoothie Blend Off required the students to work in small groups to create smoothies that had a variety of healthy ingredients in them and then to pitch their smoothies in a creative way to the judges. The judges were Brad Ozerdem, Director of Culinary Operations for the NE Patriots, MA Dairy Farmer, Jimmy Hunt and Jarostchuk. The Physical Activity Showdown included a variety of obstacle course stations that the groups rotated through, cheering each other on as they competed against each other and other groups. Both breakfast and lunch were provided, as well as healthy snacks at the end of the day.
Both Wiggins and Lewis provided the students with their own words of wisdom at the conclusion of the day, reminding them to continue to be leaders, to set goals and continue to be successful.