Ray Rice’s motor doesn’t stop. The Baltimore Ravens running back has become one of the National Football League’s premier players during his four years in the league.
Now, he’s going to see the students of Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Baynesville are always moving too.
The Ravens confirmed to The Catholic Review that the NFL Pro-Bowler will make an early December appearance at the school, which is the Baltimore winner of the NFL Play 60 campaign.
“We were thrilled to pieces,” said principal Amy Belz.
Belz said the school learned two weeks ago that it won the campaign aimed at promoting activity for 60 minutes a day in schools, but was surprised to hear that Rice was coming to her school to celebrate the achievement. The school also receives a $10,000 grant for health and wellness from the NFL. The school is determining what to do with the money.
The NFL chooses a school in each of its 32 markets to win Play 60. As part of its campaign, Immaculate Heart of Mary’s 475 students pay 50 cents to $1 to get out of uniform on “Purple Fridays.”
That money has gone to a variety of charitable outreaches, including Immaculate Heart of Mary’s parish food pantry, Pennies for Patients, earthquake relief, juvenile diabetes organizations, a school in Ghana and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Beans and Bread homeless outreach in Baltimore.
In addition, the school held a race for education.
“We’ve raised a lot of money for the community through our Purple Fridays and discovered it was a real team-building thing for our school,” Belz said. “Everyone gets on board with this, from our 3-year-olds to our eighth-graders. Everyone gets energized and excited for the Ravens.”
Physical activity is promoted at the school, which impressed the NFL.
“We’ve been working on weaving fitness into everything that we do,” Belz added.
The school’s student body gathered earlier this year to spell out “Ravens” for a photo.
“The thing that’s been most exciting is watching everyone come together as a team,” Belz said.