Teen wins tickets to football heaven
Chase Glissendorf found that out in sixth grade. He was the target of daily name-calling.
Assistant Principal Andre Bennett noticed.
"I felt he wanted to feel like he was a part of the school. I mentioned Fuel Up to Play to him, and he was excited from the start," Bennett said.
Sponsored by the NFL and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, the organization encourages kids to get active and eat right. Club members are given projects, called challenges. They produce videos about their challenges and enter them in contests.
They also raise money by selling healthful snacks after school and at school events. Chase is involved almost every day.
"The program brought out the competitive side in him. He has been the program's biggest fan since that first year," Bennett said.
Chase's mother, Kim, noticed the activity made a difference.
"Middle school isn't easy, and some days it was the only thing that made Chase want to go to school," Kim said.
Chase's father, Steve, wasn't around in sixth grade. The electrician was working for a contractor in Iraq. Steve is grateful Bennett was there for his son.
"The man's heart is bigger than he is," Steve said.
The club's video won six tickets to a Packers game that year. Chase went with his mom, Kim.
The kids won 30 Packers tickets in seventh grade, so 20 students and 10 staff members got to go.
This year, the club won the national contest, besting about 70,000 schools. The prize was a pair of tickets to one of the most prized events in the football universe: the Super Bowl.
Question was, who should go?
Bennett and some other school officials asked for advice from their contact at the milk marketing board.
It should be someone who has been in the program several years, they were told, someone enthusiastic about the program, who shares that excitement with others.
"It was hands down that Chase was the one who should go," Bennett said.
Chase has always been the most enthusiastic member of the group, always coming up with creative ideas for the videos, Bennett said. The first week of school this year, he went to Bennett's office and asked if he could be the group's student leader.
"He has kind of taken over. Mr. Bennett told us that," Steve said proudly.
The family doesn't have all the details, yet, but they know they'll get a free plane ride, lodging and money for food.
It's a good thing expenses are included, Chase's mom said, because she and Steve are unemployed.
They don't have the tickets in hand yet, but the school surprised Chase in his classroom last week with a celebration, complete with balloons and a huge replica of a bowl ticket created by Marshall art teacher Jon Maglio.
And who gets the second ticket? Kim is not a big football fan, but Steve is, and Chase enjoys watching the games on TV with his dad.
Chase decided: "I'm like, 'Dad, you're gonna go with me.'"
Days after he found out he was going to the Super Bowl, Chase couldn't wipe the smile off his face.
"I kind of want January to disappear," he said. "I can't wait till February."
WHAT IT IS
The NFL and the National Dairy Council are partners in the Play 60 effort to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day to combat childhood obesity.
On the state level, the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board partners with the Green Bay Packers in the board's Fuel Up to Play 60 promotion, which encourages children to eat low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
One other local school won a prize in this year's contest. Northside Intermediate School of Milton was a runner-up and won a $100 NFL Shop gift card.