Lorenzo Alexander, Arizona Cardinals and Cox Communications grant wishes to students at Buckeye Elementary School

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Buckeye Elementary School District has 5100 students spread out over seven schools. 126 of the kids at Buckeye Elementary School took part in a two-month, 26-mile marathon and came out with the best overall times in the competition.

The Cardinals caught wind of this and wanted to reward them for their hard work, so they teamed up with the NFL Network and Cox Communications on Friday to present the City of Buckeye and the school with a $7,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant, which will help with health and wellness programming and/or equipment.

Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander came out and represented the Cardinals at a huge assembly where he talked to students, did a Q&A session with them, presented the school with the $7,500 check and led a select group of kids in an NFL PLAY 60 fitness class.

Alexander even brought his son with him, and he took part in the round robin workouts. It was a fun experience for Alexander to come out, spend the day with the kids, pour some knowledge into them and get them some exercise.

“It’s huge. Obviously schools like this you have great teachers that are passionate about their kids (and) definitely need the resources to continue to help them impact the kids on a day-to-day level,” Alexander said. “Anytime you’re able to give $7,500 at a grass-roots level is gonna be impactful on a large scale, so it’s good to be a part of it and hopefully the kids really enjoy it and it goes to a good cause.”

Alexander and the kids really took to each other before, during and after the assembly, when they broke out for the outside drills. As soon as Alexander, his son and Big Red walked into the gym at the start of the gathering, the kids were in awe of him. They couldn’t wait until the assembly was over to meet him, get him to autograph the t-shirts they were given, take pictures and get some teachings from a real life professional football player.

Alexander got just as much out of the event as the kids did.

“That’s the fun part, I really love it,” Alexander said. “The NFL gives us such a great platform to get in the community, and be able to come out here, and hang out with kids, and be able to bring my son, since he’s old enough to come and participate as well is a blessing. Obviously they get to see me be a dad (and) interact with him, and he gets to play with them.”

“It’s a full circle thing, where I get to learn from them and see how passionate they are about being active and having fun,” Alexander said.

One of the happiest adults on campus on Friday – other than Alexander – was Lorrese Roer, the principal at Buckeye Elementary. Roer was overjoyed at having Alexander come out to spend time with her kids, and the grant her school received.

“For the students at Buckeye Elementary School, to get an opportunity to see what you can do with your life, and to see people that they see out there in the community come to our school, and the answers to the questions that he (Alexander) talked about: education, it’s priceless.” Roer said. “It’s absolutely overwhelming. I can’t tell the Cardinals organization thank you enough. It’s worth even more than the donation that was given.”

Buckeye Elementary has been in the area for well over 100 years, making it the oldest of the seven schools in the district. Alexander paying a visit to campus on Friday, and the grant the school received is just what Roer and her students needed. The school has a lot of kids in need, so Roer is hoping that the attention paid to them in the form of the grant will motivate other businesses to invest in bettering the educational system, which will in turn better the students in it, and ultimately, better our communities.

“As a community member, I don’t think that there’s anything more that we can do than invest in the education of our children, in the education, in the physical fitness and the well being of the whole child,” Roer said. “With the NFL doing that, and in having the sponsors that already doing that, those that are sitting on the fence, this is who is going to be in our work force. We need to invest in them early, we need to make sure that those kids are getting educated and providing all those opportunities to them to be successful.”

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