Today was no ordinary Tuesday for the students of Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers, Mass. Shortly after the first bell rang, they were called to a school-wide assembly in the gymnasium. The surprise? A visit by everyone's favorite tight end, Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk got a welcome fit for a rock star, as 850 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders erupted into a frenzy as soon as they heard his name. He then sat down for a 30-minute interview with Principal Adam Federico as well as students Michael Boudrot and Andrew Metivier, whose parents work for Energi. The Peabody, Mass.-based company won the "Bring a Patriot to School" prize at the 2015 Patriots Premiere, the major fundraiser for the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and donated it to the school.
With some help from Principal Federico, Michael and Andrew asked Rob about all kinds of things, from his training with the Patriots to his favorite memories of middle school.
"It feels like it was just yesterday [I was] sitting down like all of you kids right now in the auditorium," he told them. "My favorite memory was always playing for the middle school basketball team. It was always a blast. I was friends with everyone on the team and every single day after school I couldn't wait to get to practice."
Rob also shared advice for being successful in life, encouraging the kids to stay active and try new things.
And of course, the students wouldn't let him go without asking about his signature move, the Gronk Spike.
"I've always just wanted to spike the ball after I scored a touchdown, but in high school and college there's a 15-yard penalty and I never wanted to do that to hurt the team," he explained. "When I got to the NFL, I started spiking the ball because it was allowed and I always wanted to do it growing up.
"So it just started and it caught on because I started scoring a lot of touchdowns," he added with a grin.
Before the day was over, Rob also gave a quick lesson in proper spiking technique when he met with the student council, a group of about 35 children. And after autographs and selfies, he said goodbye to the kids, who returned to class proudly clutching their signed footballs and grinning from ear to ear.
As part of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, Rob Gronkowski surprised students at Holten Richmond Middle School on Tuesday, Oct, 20, 2015. Read more on Patriots Lifestyle.