LAND O'LAKES — Students and faculty at Connerton Elementary were recently rewarded for their school spirit with a lesson about staying active and healthy through baseball courtesy of the Tampa Bay Ray's Spirit Team and a contest sponsored by the Pasco Education Foundation Inc.
There were lots of cheers for Raymond, the furry, blue mascot for the Rays, who revved the kids with plenty of high fives, funny dance moves and a big bear hug for the school's principal, Aimee Botze, who happens to be a BIG fan and cites second baseman Ben Zobrist as her favorite Rays player.
"We've got some great spirit going on here," Botze told students doing their best to sit "crisscross applesauce" style at two assemblies held Sept. 12 in the school cafeteria.
Not an easy task when Raymond is wiggling those hips.
Connerton stepped up in its support of the home team and the school after being the top elementary school in attendance on Pasco County Schools Spirit Day held on June 9 when the Rays played the Baltimore Orioles. Some 1,400 discounted tickets were sold to that game through the Pasco County Education Foundation Inc., with the Rays giving $3 back to the foundation for each ticket sold. That money will help support foundation programs such as student scholarships, creative teaching grants and various employee students and recognition events, said Stacey Capogrosso, vice president of operations for the foundation.
Connerton Elementary was awarded the visit after purchasing 104 tickets to the game in which Pasco County's school superintendent, Kurt Browning tossed the first pitch.
"It was really exciting to have all of the students and employees representing Pasco County there," said Capogrosso. "There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm for our schools. We were on the big screen there and there was some good camaraderie having all of those students and employees there for the same mission — to help our students in Pasco."
Michele Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.