Spotlights
Breakfast with a Super Bowl champion at Chase Elementary
02/06/13

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Put yourself in the sneakers of Austin Dorn for a moment.

A fifth-grader at Chase Elementary School and a Ravens fan who wore a spiky neon-purple wig to school Friday, Austin suddenly found himself sharing a breakfast of corn flakes and milk with Ravens wide receiver and newly minted Super Bowl champion Torrey Smith.

"It was wild, man," Smith said when Austin and his classmates in Kristina Grahe's classroom asked him what the Super Bowl in New Orleans was like. "On Media Day, for instance, imagine all these reporters and cameras" – Smith motioned to the battery of television cameras crowded into Austin's classroom – "and multiply it by, like, a million!"

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"Here," Smith said, digging into his Ravens sweatpants pocket for his smart phone, "take a look at these pictures." Austin and his friends peered wide-eyed at Smith's personal phone pictures from the Super Bowl and the Baltimore parade afterwards.

"I couldn't go to the parade," Austin told Smith. "I was in school."

So, on a rainy February 8, part of the parade came to Austin and his friends at Chase Elementary School for one more special Purple Friday. Smith's appearance at the school was part of the "Fuel Up to Play 60" program sponsored by the National Dairy Council in partnership with the National Football League.  As part of the program, America's Milk Processors provided $250,000 in grants to local "Fuel Up to Play 60" schools – Chase Elementary is one – to increase student access to a healthy breakfast.

Smith's message to Grahe's classroom – and to a schoolwide assembly a short time later – was to highlight the importance of starting each day with a healthy breakfast. He encouraged a cheering gymnasium of students to drink their milk to help them power through each day, and he advised them to listen to their parents and teachers, study and work hard, and be active for at least 60 minutes each day – messages right out of the "Fuel Up to Play 60" playbook.

In between, Smith posed for pictures with an energized Chase Elementary staff – super fan Grahe herself was decked out in a purple feather boa, face paint, blinking purple lights, and a purple tutu; Principal Doug Elmendorf was more understated with a bright purple tie and dark suit – and Smith described his Super Bowl experience to reporters, students, and teachers. "I've never seen so many grown men cry in one place," he quipped.

"I love coming out to schools and doing this," he said. "I love seeing the kids and how excited they get."

They loved it, too, Torrey.

Story and photos by Charles Herndon, BCPS communications specialist
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