Friday, October 12, 2012
By EARTHA TERRELL
Members of the San Francisco 49ers football team surprised Dana Elias’ third-grade class when they visited Watson Elementary School Sept. 24.
The team was staying in Boardman for a week between games, instead of flying back to California. It was the second straight season the 49ers set up camp in the Valley and practiced at Youngstown State. The team is owned by locals Denise and John York.
After submitting an essay detailing how she encourages reading with her students, Elias’ class was chosen to win a chance to meet several members from the 49ers football team.
“I submitted a 500-word essay as to how I get my students to read and to be honest, when I first found out that I’d won, I started crying. It’s just such an honor to be chosen and I love all my students. Teaching is just something that I’ve always wanted to do. The students really motivate me. When I see them get excited it makes me want to teach. I love what I do and everyday I love coming to work,” Elias said.
Students’ faces lit up with joy as several players from the team joined them during class. Players, including, Eric Bakhtiari, Mathew Masitio, C.J. Spillman, Tavares Gooden, Patrick Willis and Will Tukuafu signed autographs, played games and also stressed to children the value of a good education and why reading should be an important aspect in their lives. Students and players also enjoyed some friendly competition with a football-inspired game testing students’ vocabulary.