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Old 02-23-2009, 07:02 AM   #1
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Default Super Bowl champ honors Girard winners

Super Bowl champ honors Girard winners
By John w. Goodwin jr. (Contact)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

By John w. Goodwin jr.

GIRARD — Dozens of young pupils drenched in black and gold spent an hour getting autographs and talking football with a member of the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

Anthony Smith, safety for the world champions and a Hubbard native, walked into Prospect Elementary School just before 11:30 a.m. Friday to the sounds of pupils in Kimberly Babbaro’s kindergarten class singing “Here we go, Pittsburgh’s going to the Super Bowl.”

Smith visited the school to congratulate pupils on becoming a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for 2008.

“This is just an honor to have someone like Anthony Smith from the area, a Super Bowl winner, come and visit our school,” Babbaro said. “To have him come and take time out of his busy schedule to acknowledge our accomplishments is a real honor.”

The Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award is issued by the U.S. Department of Education after a rigorous selection process. The school must provide five years’ worth of data along with 10 essays from Principal Joanne Carmello. The school was selected ahead of 137,000 other schools across the country.

Smith congratulated the pupils and teachers on the overall accomplishment. He likened the hard work put forth by the children to the same level of hard work and dedication needed to become an NFL champion.

“I think this is a tremendous accomplishment. You guys have done a great job. It took a lot of teamwork I’m sure,” Smith said to the pupils gathered in a semicircle around him. “This is a positive thing for the community, the school and everyone.”

Most of the young people were more interested in Smith and the Steelers’ accomplishments in the 2008 football season. The football player spent the bulk of his time taking pictures with pupils and signing a variety of memorabilia including footballs, player trading cards and the yellow and black “Terrible Towels.”

Alex Kidd, 8, wearing a black Steelers jersey under a gray Steelers hooded sweatshirt, brought one of the yellow and black towels for Smith to sign, but he also did a little signing of his own.

Alex, who plays football for the Girard Little Indians team, brought a small signed photograph of himself in full football uniform and offered the picture to Smith.

Alex said he is determined to be a receiver for the Steelers someday, and he wanted Smith to have his first official autograph.

Any message of hard work and dedication Smith hoped to bring to the young pupils seemed to sink in with Alex saying, “I know I have to work hard and do good in school” in order to have any chance at a career in professional football.

Carmello said reactions such as the one seen from Alex are a big part of what makes visits from individuals such as Smith special.

“Our basic goal is to set the foundation for the lifelong learner. Having someone like this come in puts it into perspective,” she said.

Dawn Dickson, D1 Consulting Group, and Matthew Prologo, of Fanatic Fountains, helped organize Smith’s visit. Dickson, who manages Smith’s public appearances, said area residents will likely see more of the pro athlete. He is planning a football camp somewhere in the area this spring, she said.

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Old 02-23-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Super Bowl champ honors Girard winners

man those kids sure got ripped off....
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