When given their cue, more than 500 of Lake Arbor Elementary School’s best-behaved students shook their auditorium with applause and cheers for Morris and wide receiver
“If I knew they were going to get that loud, I would have brought some ear plugs,” Morris joked. “It was very exciting. I’m glad we were able to come reward the kids.”
Along with the United Way of the National Capital Area, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted Hometown Huddle on Tuesday afternoon to emphasize health and wellness at the Mitchellville, Md., school.
Lake Arbor students who earned at least 13 lion paw stamps for orderly behavior in the month of October were treated to a show that got them moving and making healthy dietary choices.
A disc jockey, a fitness coach, a human carrot, a professional hula-hooper and a break dance team engaged the children in the benefits of exercise. When Morris and Morgan emerged onstage from behind a yellow curtain, the volume inside the building peaked.
“They were so excited that the Redskins would actually come out to see them,” Lake Arbor principal Tonya Riggins said. “I know they’re going to go home and tell their parents about it. I think it’s just sheer joy that they experienced today.”
Morris and Morgan pulled shy kids out of the crowd to bust a move. They applauded competing educators during a teachers’ dance contest.
“It’s always good to see kids excited, happy and having fun as well being productive and doing well in school,” Morgan said. “So to see that balance between the two is a great thing.
"That just goes to show that they have great teachers, and this is a great program."
In August 2012, United Way NCA was awarded a $761,182 physical education grant from the U.S. Department of Education that allowed the organization to expand the Hometown Huddle program to 15 Prince George’s County public elementary schools year-round for three years.
Washington, D.C.-native Morgan is the spokesman for United Way NCA’s Fun, Fly & Fit program.
After today's program, he and Morris joined in a session of recess, helping the students compete in relay races and fitness challenges. When the event was over, the players left the children with words to remember.
Morgan told them to get eight hours of sleep and eat a healthy breakfast to maximize focus in the classroom.
Morris talked about the enduring effect education can have on a life.
“One day my football career will be over,” he said. “But I’ll have my [college] degree forever.”