(Boyle Hts.-East Los Angeles)—On Tuesday, September 18th, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams Community Outreach Team, composed of the following members: three players, #43/John Johnson, Safety, #24/Blake Countess, Corner, #41/Marqui Christian, Safety; four Cheerleaders; and the official Rams mascot, “Rampage,” appeared at Roosevelt High School, the host site for this L.A. Unified School District special partnership and community event, entitled, “NFL Play 60 Character Camp.” In October of 2007, the NFL launched NFL PLAY 60, a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.
District Superintendent Austin Buetner made an appearance and addressed some 300 students representing Hollenbeck Middle School, Euclid, and Marianna Elementary Schools. He spoke about the importance of being physically active each day and the connection between learning while being stimulated with an active body. The event also had designs to potentially attract younger students enrolled in the above named schools and to keep Roosevelt HS on their minds when they reach high school age and continue with their education.
Story Co-Authors:Rico Cabrera Sr., East L.A. Sports Scene & Dave Perea, Athletic Director, Roosevelt High School.
For a good idea of what the day looked like, we’ve included a photo gallery for your viewing.
Other District officials in attendance were: Dr. Alfonso Webb, Local District, East Administrator; Cathy Kralik, Director of Communications, Partnership for Los Angeles Schools; Ben Gertner, Principal, Roosevelt High School; Mr José Espinoza, Principal, Roosevelt Magnet/Math, Science, & Engineering; and José Huerta, Local District, East Superintendent.
The objective of the event was to promote more awareness on the importance of promoting our youth to be active and have them learn more about demonstrating great character. These two themes were continually emphasized throughout the event.
The morning, fun-filled event started with some Welcomes from the Roosevelt High School Principal, Ben Gertner, Superintendent Beutner, and Ryan Betscher, Director, NFL Play 60 Program. After that, it was onto the field where the students were placed into small groups to learn some basic football techniques, importance of warming-up before strenuous activities, and finally, participation in small group drills as led by the Rams’ players, Johnson,Countess, and Christian. They were assisted by 35 Varsity players from the Roosevelt Rough Riders football team. The high school players were assigned (10-12) young visitors to coach/motivate and work with throughout the event. Rams players circulated through the various stations offering coaching, motivation, and sometimes jumping in and participating in the drill or game. The young visitors were very excited and had a great time. At the end of the day, an MVP (Most Valuable Person) Award was given to a student from each group.
In addition, all student participants were given T-shirts, Rams merchandise, and Rams team and player photos. As an added bonus for all attendees, the Rams invited them to this Sunday’s game on September 23rd, when they take on the L.A. Chargers in the “Battle For L.A.”
As the camp session was breaking up, Hollenbeck Middle Schooler, Jose Garcia, 13 years of age, was asked for his opinion on participating in the camp on a regular school day. He answered this way, “I had fun, the Roosevelt players were great. I learned a lot! It was great to meet the players from the Rams, and Rampage, the mascot, was really cool!”
Photo Credits: Dave Perea, Athletic Director, Roosevelt High School & José Espinoza, Principal, Roosevelt Magnet/Math, Science & Engineering, (Rams Players and Campers group photo only)