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Buccaneers "Defend Your Turf" Celebration

A large contingent of Buccaneers traveled to Pinellas Park Middle School on Tuesday to congratulate students for winning the Fuel Up To PLAY 60 “Defend Your Turf Challenge”

The Dairy Council of FL and Buccaneers Rookies visited Pinellas Park Middle School - winners of the Fuel Up to Play 60 "Defend Your Turf Challenge." The school received a $5,000 grant to support health & wellness programs.

On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dairy Council of Florida made a special visit to Pinellas Park Middle School for winning the 2014 Fuel Up to PLAY 60 "Defend Your Turf Challenge." During the visit, wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and the Buccaneers 2014 rookies, along with Buccaneers Cheerleaders and mascot Captain Fear, congratulated the students for their efforts to promote physical activity and nutrition, and, along with representatives from the Dairy Council of Florida, presented the school with a $5,000 Health and Wellness Grant.

"Getting that jumpstart on life is good," said Evans. "I drank a lot of milk, so that helped create strong bones. Staying active is a big key."

The 2014 Fuel Up to PLAY 60 "Defend Your Turf Challenge" was available to Elementary and Middle School students throughout Pinellas County, where schools were encouraged to enroll and accrue points by participating in activities that showcase living a healthy, nutritious and active lifestyle. Pinellas Park Middle School earned more than four million points during the nine-week challenge, setting the bar for not only the most overall points in Pinellas County, but most points throughout the state of Florida. The students' efforts were consistent throughout the challenge, which ran from September 8 – November 7, also earning the title of top "Turf Defender" in Pinellas County for each week. More than 30 Pinellas County schools participated in the challenge, and the schools with the top 20 point totals also received a $250 donation toward their health and wellness programming.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to actually get up close and personal with one of the Buccaneers and be able to run drills and hear from them about how important middle school is and how they personally 'Play 60' and eat healthy," said Vanessa Hodak, vice president of school health and wellness at the Dairy Council of Florida. "It's very important because in order to have a healthy student and have high test grades and low sickness and high attendance, you need students to be well-fed and to be physically-fit."

Fuel Up to PLAY 60 is an initiative between the National Football League and the National Dairy Council that empowers students to create and implement activities that reward them for making healthy choices, and inspire change in their school. Students participate in fun challenges, track their own healthy eating and physical activity, and earn fun rewards.

"This is what it's all about – giving back," said Evans. "We're on a platform now and we want to be role models to younger kids so they can grow up and be successful. It's a blessing." For more information on Fuel Up to PLAY 60," visit http://fueluptoplay60.floridamilk.com.

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