Fullback Darrel Young and offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao visited the "Redskins Read Challenge" winners from Roscoe R. Nix Elementary school on Friday.
Redskins players Darrel Young and Shawn Lauvao visited Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School on Friday to award them a Play 60 Celebration
Even before he went outside in the blistering sun, Redskins fullback Darrel Young was sweating.
Joined by offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao, the duo had just finished their second session of exercising with K-2 students at Roscoe R. Nix Elementary in Silver Spring, Md., and it required everything from jogging in place to walking on all fours in
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The groups of kids were giddy, and for good reason. Their school was named the winner of the "Redskins Read Challenge," a contest which encourages and provides incentives to kindergarten through sixth grade students to explore the joys of reading.
Since last fall, Roscoe R. Nix had read and logged more minutes than every other public school in the Washington, D.C., metro area. As their reward, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation on Friday hosted a Play 60 Celebration, which included interactive assemblies and a mini-combine for second graders outside.
"It's important to read, in everything you do," said Young, who relayed that message to students. "Some of the things that we do on a daily basis, people don't understand that we actually do have assignments that are in books and we have to read and understand. I think hearing it from an athlete, coming from a different perspective [from] what your parents may do -- it's good to hear sometimes, that every profession you have to read."
Both Young and Lauvao shared variations of that message in a question and answer session with students, asking them about how reading impacted their lives and what books they were interested in as kids their age.
Lauvao mentioned Dr. Seuss, which received thunderous applause as did Young's favorite as a child, The Berenstain Bears. Other favorites mentioned included sports and motivational books, slightly above the auditorium's reading levels.
"I think anytime you lay a foundation like that it pays off dividends obviously in the future," Lauvao said. "Obviously reading is a great tool for building your mind."
What was continually stressed – by the players, the teachers and by principal Annette Ffolkes – was the combination of reading and exercise, staying active and using that energy to supplement learning.
That's where Sharon Agee comes in. Since 2009 her organization "Healthy Solutions" has been working with students to help promote physical activity, using fun video workouts, like the ones on Friday, to get the blood flowing.
"I know growing up as a child, I've seen a lot of outside activity has diminished to Playstation and different things," Agee said. "Just to see them get back outside to play and to be a part of where I can provide those levels of services for the kids for them to just have fun, be fit and enjoy themselves. That's what I'm after."
The message, though, is only emphasized by the players' attendance, later interacting with students outside as they ran drills and hustled around obstacles.
"To be here as that physical presence to say, 'This is a good thing to do. Get outside. Play, get fit, eat different things,'" she said, "I believe it's definitely going to impact them in a great way."