ROYAL OAK — Several local schools got a lesson in healthy eating habits and the importance of exercise last week, leaving what many hope is a lasting impression on the elementary school students.
The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, working in conjunction with the Michigan branches of Blue Cross Blue Shield and Kroger Co., came to Keller Elementary in Royal Oak Sept. 20, and then Schalm Elementary in Clawson and Upton Elementary in Royal Oak, both on Sept. 21. Although none of the Red Wings players, who are in the midst of a league-wide lockout, were in attendance, that didn’t change the fun and educational vibe the local schools were shooting for.
“Any time I think you can get a sports team in, it kind of draws their attention,” said Anna Falkiewicz, a Title I teacher at Upton. “The kids were really excited about it.
“They talked a lot about education and educating yourself and dedication, because you have to set goals. Hockey players have to play 82 games per year, so they’re tested 82 times per year.”
The two focal points of the assemblies were on nutrition and exercise, using examples the students could relate to.
“If you have strawberry ice cream, it’s still not healthy,” said third-grader Ethan Utych, 8.
Utych was extra excited about the assembly because he’s an ice hockey player, centering a line for a young Birmingham Rangers squad. He and his peers were told how important it was to get outside and exercise daily.
“On a scale of one to 10, I’d say 10 or nine,” said fifth-grader Ramata Manneh, 10, of the importance of exercise. “We talked about great food and exercise choices.”
Both Utych and Manneh said they took away a few important lessons from the assembly, but enjoyed the penalty shootout between five teachers and five students. Of the 10 total shots, Falkiewicz scored the only goal for either group.
As part of the program, each school gets to keep the two full sets of floor hockey equipment that was used, complete with hockey sticks and goalie nets. Each also received a Red Wings folder and a BCBS keepsake magnet that lists five fun after-school activities. Falkiewicz said the equipment would likely see some use during recess, but more likely during physical education classes.
The Red Wings School Assembly Program will visit 115 elementary schools during the 2012-13 season as a street and floor hockey initiative that began in 2010 to introduce kids to the sport of hockey and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.
Detroit Red Wings Foundation Director Lynsie Estes could not be reached for comment Sept. 21.