The fifth graders at Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School in Falls Township laced up their shoes and hit the gridiron for a worthy cause on the Friday before the Super Bowl.
With the support of Principal Lisa Follman, the fifth grade classes have been facing each other during their recess times in a flag football tournament, braving muddy and snowy conditions for most of their games.
This tournament wrapped up with “Super Duper Bowl VIII” on February 2nd.
Each class created a team name and mascot using their homeroom teacher’s name, and proudly wore their custom team t-shirts during the final game.
Competing this year were the Melnick Mashers, Kean Kongs, Toledano Tornadoes, and Miller’s Mean Machines. Jason Miller has organized this event for the past eight years and marks it as a key event for the entire school.
“You have kids out there who have never played football or even thrown a ball,” said Jason. “They end up loving it, and it becomes something all the kids look forward to as they get older. We even have alumni who return for the game.”
One such alumni was present – Zach DiMario, an eighth grader from Pennwood Middle School who participated in the flag football tournament three years ago and came back to watch his sister compete.
“The best thing is the excitement,” says Zach. He rooted for his sister on the sidelines. “It’s all about the team spirit and building that sense among the students,” Jason said.
Students attending the event – complete with a pre-game pep rally with the school’s band – also participated in a “coin challenge” by placing coins in bins decorated for each team to raise money for new playground equipment.
The school raised $523 from the coin challenge to go toward a new playground. Students in grades K-4 made signs to cheer on the fifth grade teams.
They also donated canned goods that were placed in decorated collection boxes of their favorite teams – all four boxes were filled with food items that will be donated to the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter in Levittown.
With football as the backdrop, this competition brings an opportunity for the students to practice good sportsmanship and fair play.
These tie in with the school’s character education initiative of teaching and showing respect, kindness, responsibility, cooperation and giving their best effort.
“We talk to the kids before each practice game about good sportsmanship and the four pillars of character including kindness and respect,” said Jason. “Of course they want to win, but in the end it’s about creating a great experience for everyone involved.”
This year was the coldest year by far, Jason said, even though the teams have previously played with snow on the ground. After the Kean Kongs held the championship for the past seven years, this year’s winner was Miller’s Mean Machines!
The MVP was Kean Kong player, Joey Fonde. The overall goal of the coin challenge campaign is to raise $75,000 for a new playground structure.
Anyone interested in donating can make checks payable to ‘ER PTO’ with “Playground Fun” on the memo line. Please mail and address to Karen Rigby, Principal’s secretary, Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School, 185 Walton Drive, Morrisville, PA 19067.
PHOTO CAP: Miller’s Mean Machines pose for a group shot.