Seattle Seahawks player visits York Elementary School in Vancouver

The visit was partly to recognize the Evergreen School District school for being the first with a new milk dispensing machine



VANCOUVER —There was plenty of buzz as hundreds of youngsters filed into the gymnasium at York Elementary in the Evergreen School District on Monday.

They knew there were visitors, and they could clearly see the gathered media with their cameras and tripods. 

But they had no idea just how special that visitor would be.

Many were decked out in jerseys and gear from their favorite football team, the Seattle Seahawks, but their teachers had only told them it was spirit day.

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Trey Flowers, Seahawks Dancer Kylie, and York Elementary School Principal Dawn Harris hold a 12th Man flag during assembly on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Trey Flowers, Seahawks Dancer Kylie, and York Elementary School Principal Dawn Harris hold a 12th Man flag during assembly on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown

So imagine their surprise when Principal Dawn Harris stood up to introduce Seahawks Dancer Kylie.

Who then introduced Seahawks Cornerback Trey Flowers to a thunderous — and shrill — greeting.

“That’s always my favorite, to see the kids get so excited,” Harris said. “You could feel the momentum, just them walking in, they still had no clue what was going on.”

Flowers and Kylie were there as part of the NFL’s Play 60 effort, which encourages children in schools across the country to be active for sixty minutes each day.

They were also recognizing York for being among the first schools in the state to switch from milk in containers, to a dispenser.

That may seem like a small thing, but Harris says it has saved around three gallons of milk each day that would have otherwise ended up being thrown out.

“They felt like they were in a restaurant when they first started doing the milk dispenser,” says Harris. “They love just serving themselves, no moms or dads.”

Seattle Seahawks CB Trey Flowers and Seahawks Dancer Kylie were special guests at York Elementary School on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown
Seattle Seahawks CB Trey Flowers and Seahawks Dancer Kylie were special guests at York Elementary School on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown

If you’re curious which option the students prefer, there are two chocolate milk dispensers, and one for one percent white milk. 

Still, Harris says quite a few of the children enjoy plain milk with their meal.

The dispenser was paid for through the Washington State Department of Ecology’s local solid waste financial assistance program.

“By taking small steps toward environmental stewardship, such as reducing waste in the cafeteria, local schools have the opportunity to make a difference in our communities,” said Steve Seppi, interim executive director of the Dairy Farmers of Washington. 

York Elementary student Lily Brasket teaches popular Tik Tok dance moves to Seahawks Dancer Kylie and Cornerback Trey Flowers at an event on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown
York Elementary student Lily Brasket teaches popular Tik Tok dance moves to Seahawks Dancer Kylie and Cornerback Trey Flowers at an event on Monday. Photo by Chris Brown

For his part, Flowers said he gets a kick out of interacting with the children.

“It’s a dream come true. I love reaching out to the kids and helping any kid I can,” he said after the event. “I love kids, I love how pure they are.”

Flowers took time to dance with several students, and participate in some touchdown celebrations. He also shares some of his advice for staying active and fit, especially during the offseason.

“Just taking care of your body. You know, you can never start too early,” he says. “I never knew about any of this stuff, and I just was drinking milk because I had it. Now that I know what it does for you and I can help them do it, and we can do it together, then let’s do it.”

A new milk dispenser at York Elementary is a first in the state, and part of an initiative to stop waste. The school says students throw away around three gallons less milk each day by being able to dispense it themselves. Photo by Chris Brown
A new milk dispenser at York Elementary is a first in the state, and part of an initiative to stop waste. The school says students throw away around three gallons less milk each day by being able to dispense it themselves. Photo by Chris Brown

“York Elementary set the example that five other schools in Clark County have followed,” said Michelle Sanow, Green Schools environmental outreach specialist. “Our goal was to make this the norm and their ‘can do’ attitude made the change possible.”

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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