It was a moment 13-year-old Samarth had only dreamed about.
But here he was on a Saturday afternoon in April, hearing his name his name called across the world during the NFL draft.
No, not as a player of course.
Instead, as an ambassador for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, Samarth had the opportunity to introduce a draft pick for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles.
“It was quite a surreal experience. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” the Yardley, Pennsylvania resident said.
As a reward for his hard work setting up a virtual Fuel Up to Play 60 Google Classroom for the Pennsbury School District during the pandemic, the NFL and the Eagles allowed Samarth the opportunity of a lifetime to record the message that helped introduced the pick. He also spent the days prior on the local Philadelphia media circuit.
“I heard so much from my teachers and classmates after they saw,” Samarth said. “My teachers congratulated me and told me that they loved what I’m doing. My teachers and classmates have encouraged me to keep the lessons from Fuel Up to Play 60 going forward.”
That’s what Samarth has been doing with his virtual classroom. There, he posts daily workout tips for both the body and mind and healthy, easy-to-make recipes with dairy, including all different kinds of fruit and vegetable-infused smoothies.
And going forward as he graduates this June from middle school and prepares to head into his freshman year at Pennsbury High School, he has some thoughts and ideas of his next steps in promoting the health and wellness of dairy with Fuel Up to Play 60.
“At Pennsbury High, I want to bring my experience with Fuel Up to Play 60 and bring a bigger impact there,” Samarth explained. “My next motive is to make that transition there with the program and use the greater exposure high school can bring. When high school starts, I’m going to get as many new teachers involved as I can to be advisors.
“I’ve been to the Fuel Up to Play 60 summits before and meeting with other kids and advisors there, I talked to others who were able to get their local dairy farmers involved in the program more. That’s something I definitely want to do. To have them involved and use their knowledge would be really cool.”
But still, this NFL draft experience thanks to his Fuel Up to Play 60 work is something Samarth will cherish for a long time.
“It was most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had an absolute blast,” he said. “All my teachers, my friends, my peers, they’ve all been extremely supportive and they’re all so proud of me. This will always be kept in my mind as I push workouts, dairy and Fuel Up to Play 60 into the future in high school.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 is such a great program and I’m extremely lucky and proud to be a part of it.”
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.