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Carolina Panthers mascot Sir Purr visited Lee Woodard Elementary School on Monday with a monetary gift and a message of health and fitness.
Students gathered in the gym to greet the big black cat.
“They were very excited. They loved the energy,” Walker said. “The kids had an opportunity to dance with Sir Purr. We did some line dancing. Several of the faculty members got involved with the mascot. It’s just a great opportunity to partner with the Carolina Panthers just getting the message out there.”
Some of the children who are fans of the Charlotte-based professional football team wore black, blue and gray jerseys with the numbers of their favorite Carolina players like quarterback Cam Newton and linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Sporting a Cam Newton jersey, student Kimora McMillian joined other students in games and physical activities as other students cheered them on.
Monday’s visit was to deliver a $4,000 check for a Fuel Up to Play 60 grant to Principal Corey Walker.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is a collaborative program between the National Dairy Council, the National Football League and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helps encourage young people to heave a healthy life through in-school nutrition and regular physical activity.
The school’s media specialist Megan Proctor coordinated with teacher assistant Carl Lee to write the grant proposal.
Walker said part of the money will go to pay for improvements to a walking track around the playground area at the school.
The improvements are being installed by Daniels Chapel Free Will Baptist Church. Pastor John Prescott is overseeing the project.
The funds will also be used to buy equipment to set up a green room for the students.
The nutritional component will be in the coming months when students get to taste some healthful foods in the school cafeteria.
In addition to appearances on the field during games, Sir Purr goes off the field to pay visits to schools across the state each spring to support students during testing and also visits children at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to bring encouragement to youngsters facing medical challenges.