Sixth-graders at Mayfield Woods Middle School will be vying for the opportunity to dine with Ravens players at ESPN Zone in the spring and for tickets to a game in November as a reward for improving their physical fitness.
The reward is part of Play 60 Challenge, a four-week contest where students are encouraged to engage in physical activity for 60 minutes during the day. Organizers hope the added incentive of meeting professional athletes will increase motivation for the students.
"They are pretty pumped about it," said Danielle L. King, a physical education teacher at the school and organizer of the activity. "They were pretty surprised. They had no idea that we were having an assembly."
Students learned of the challenge Monday with a surprise visit by Ravens players Lardarius Webb and Kelley Washington and Ravens cheerleaders at an hourlong assembly in the school's gymnasium. Mayfield Woods is the only Howard County school entered in the competition. The challenge is being sponsored by the National Football League, the Baltimore Ravens and the American Heart Association.
The actual challenge begins Monday. Students will use pedometers to track their activity. Each student who completes the required 6,000 pedometer steps or 60 minutes of physical activity per day for at least four days of the week will be entered in a homeroom raffle. That winner will be entered into a gradewide raffle. The winners at the homeroom level every week will have their name submitted for tickets to the Ravens game Nov. 29 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a lunch with several Ravens players at ESPN Zone in the spring. In addition, other students entered in the raffle will also be able to win smaller prizes that include a football, yoga mat, sweat pants and a Ravens jersey.
"Kids have been asking, 'When are we getting the pedometers?' " King said. "They were really excited that we surprised them with the assembly, Ravens players and the challenge. I'm sure we'll get more feedback."
King found out about the challenge through a colleague at Lime Kiln Middle School, which participated last year. King immediately inquired with the NFL, and her school was chosen.
"We want to start young with the kids," King said. "Hopefully, we can promote a healthy lifestyle now."