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.
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.”
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.
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.”
“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.”