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Kraft surprises school with visit, donation

Posted Jun 3, 2013

The Patriots' owner made some children smile on a rainy Monday in Boston.

DORCHESTER, Mass. – Boston traffic is notoriously bad on a normal day during rush hour. Add pouring rain to the equation and I-93 becomes virtually impassable.

The Hub’s clogged arteries were at a near standstill for most of Monday morning, but somehow, Patriots owner Robert Kraft managed to arrive in time to greet children at Russell Elementary School in the city’s Dorchester community, just south of downtown.

His visit was a surprise to the youngsters, who were gathered in an assembly hall for a special event. Their school was chosen as the grand prize winner of the Find Your Balance Challenge, a national wellness program competition geared toward helping needy children and their schools find ways to improve and maintain fitness levels among students.

Russell Elementary is about half a mile from 93, but has almost no space for teachers, parents, or visitors to park (the highway itself was the closest thing resembling a parking lot on this day), let alone anywhere expansive for the kids to enjoy recess. Space indoors is limited as well, meaning it’s difficult for the students to stay active during their free time at school.

So, physical education teacher Elizabeth Reynolds Lupo, who brought students from all grades together to develop a community garden and form a student wellness council. Their initiative paid off, as their grand-prize winnings totaled $20,000 in funding and $10,000 in equipment for their health-conscious projects.

Kraft’s appearance made the day even more special. He first addressed the school with a Patriots ball cap in hand and told the assembly that he’d brought boxes of them to give each child a Patriots hat of their own.

Then, he announced that he’d be matching the $30,000 donation so the school could continue improving the quality of life for the youngsters at Russell Elementary. That news nearly brought tears to the eyes of the teachers, and a chorus of cheers from the students.

Afterward, Kraft stopped to chat briefly with a few media members who’d shown up for the event. The only football-related question he was asked was with respect to star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s latest injury news (he’ll reportedly need back surgery this month and be sidelined for the foreseeable future).

“I think Rob performed pretty well on Saturday at his [youth football] camp, and he came down to Newtown with us [at another youth camp last month] and performed pretty well,” offered Kraft, choosing to let the player speak for himself on the matter.

“I think he’s more of an intelligent spokesman on his condition than I am.”

However, Gronkowski would not answer questions about his health when media attended his aforementioned camp this past weekend.DORCHESTER, Mass. – Boston traffic is notoriously bad on a normal day during rush hour. Add pouring rain to the equation and I-93 becomes virtually impassable.

The Hub’s clogged arteries were at a near standstill for most of Monday morning, but somehow, Patriots owner Robert Kraft managed to arrive in time to greet children at Russell Elementary School in the city’s Dorchester community, just south of downtown.

His visit was a surprise to the youngsters, who were gathered in an assembly hall for a special event. Their school was chosen as the grand prize winner of the Find Your Balance Challenge, a national wellness program competition geared toward helping needy children and their schools find ways to improve and maintain fitness levels among students.

Russell Elementary is about half a mile from 93, but has almost no space for teachers, parents, or visitors to park (the highway itself was the closest thing resembling a parking lot on this day), let alone anywhere expansive for the kids to enjoy recess. Space indoors is limited as well, meaning it’s difficult for the students to stay active during their free time at school. So, physical education teacher Elizabeth Reynolds Lupo, who brought students from all grades together to develop a community garden and form a student wellness council. Their initiative paid off, as their grand-prize winnings totaled $20,000 in funding and $10,000 in equipment for their health-conscious projects.

Kraft’s appearance made the day even more special. He first addressed the school with a Patriots ball cap in hand and told the assembly that he’d brought boxes of them to give each child a Patriots hat of their own.

Then, he announced that he’d be matching the $30,000 donation so the school could continue improving the quality of life for the youngsters at Russell Elementary. That news nearly brought tears to the eyes of the teachers, and a chorus of cheers from the students.

Afterward, Kraft stopped to chat briefly with a few media members who’d shown up for the event. The only football-related question he was asked was with respect to star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s latest injury news (he’ll reportedly need back surgery this month and be sidelined for the foreseeable future).

“I think Rob performed pretty well on Saturday at his [youth football] camp, and he came down to Newtown with us [at another youth camp last month] and performed pretty well,” offered Kraft, choosing to let the player speak for himself on the matter.

“I think he’s more of an intelligent spokesman on his condition than I am.”

However, Gronkowski would not answer questions about his health when media attended his aforementioned camp this past weekend.

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