Several Buccaneers players attended the official ribbon cutting event for the Fitness Zone at the newest Buccaneers Academy, Bevis Elementary School in Lithia.
On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dedicated Bevis Elementary School as the 24th Buccaneers Academy. The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school's new Fitness Zone, a covered court designed for children to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities while minimizing the risks of heat exhaustion and sun overexposure.
"Every time we install one of our shade covers at our Buccaneer Academies we hear from the schools that it's a living visual dedication that shows the children that we're committed for the long term and it shows them that people really care about them," Glazer Family Foundation President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz said.
Fifth grade classes got the extra thrill of being led in football drills by Buccaneers players Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Keith Tandy, Kevin Pamphile, Cameron Brate, Andrew DePaola and Josh Keyes in a very special physical education class.
"That's pretty special to know the kids look up to you that much and for them to see you and to see their faces light up and get all excited, that's probably one of the most humbling experiences you can have as a professional athlete," long snapper Andrew DePaola said. "You know that is probably the most rewarding thing we can do is come out here, give back, and just make a kid's day."
Bevis Elementary School Principal Melanie Cochrane expressed her thanks for becoming a Buccaneers Academy and for the Fitness Zone.
"I think it's great to see how the Buccaneers support education and support kids and support their physical fitness which then impacts them in the classroom," Cochrane said. "It feels good to see how they give back to the community and for kids to feel that support."
Other dignitaries who joined Cochrane in cutting the ribbon were Hillsborough County Schools Area Superintendent Sherrie Sykes, Hillsborough County School Board Member Mellissa Snively and American Heart Association Executive Director Kate Sawa.
Bevis Elementary School students proved how important being active is to them by winning the 2015-2016 Buccaneers Play 60 Challenge. The Buccaneers and the American Heart Association present the Challenge as a way to encourage students to get active. The students recorded more hours of physical activity than any other Buccaneers Academy during the Challenge and were rewarded with $2,000 worth of new gym equipment.
In all, there are over 14,000 students and 2,000 teachers in the 24 Buccaneers Academies that inspire, equip, and celebrate students with year-round curricula promoting good behavior and healthy lifestyles, and includes frequent visits from Buccaneers players and Cheerleaders.
Principal Cochrane knows the Fitness Zone is one of several great benefits her students will enjoy with Bevis Elementary as a Buccaneers Academy. "It gives them a great place to get out and be active," Cochrane said. "The kids are really involved here in school and also out in the community so they're outside a lot. This will protect them and also help with their physical fitness."