Vanderbilt football players visit Crieve Hall Elementary for school celebration

20161026_131245 On a warm fall day, the Vanderbilt Commodores played with the Crieve Hall Cardinals. But not for an official game. Players from the Vanderbilt football team visited Crieve Hall Elementary on Oct. 26 as a celebration for students who are consistently coming to school on time and meeting academic expectations in the classroom.

"It's really fun to have grownups from other schools come to see us," said Roan, a third grade student at Crieve Hall. "I really like football. It's really fun for me."

Play stations on the school's recess field included reading funny books with the football players and group games, such as touchdown dancing, trying on football gear relay races, dynamic pre-game stretching and stance-and-drive drills.


Giving back to the community in a way that helps children was a great opportunity the Vanderbilt University football team couldn't pass up, team staff members said.

"I love the play station format. It keeps the kids active, and the kids get to see our guys' personalities," said Rayna Stewart, director of player development for the Vanderbilt University football team. "Literacy is important, so having our guys read to the kids is just as exciting."

The breeze gently rustled leaves on trees and twirled seedlings into the air. Children waved gold poms poms they received from the team as they lined up and went back to class.

The day was filled with laughter and learning, and, according to Crieve Hall Principal Nate Miley said, will be a day students will hopefully not forget.

"We're focused on getting children to the next level -- college.  These kids will remember this for a long time and hopefully hanging out with college players creates the link between the work we do now and the fun they can have later," Miley said.

View highlights from the day below: