NEW PARIS — On Friday, March 22, The Ohio State Buckeyes once again came to National Trail Local School District to meet and inspire students in all grades, during the district’s fourth annual Buckeye Outreach Day with the Driven Foundation
The day began with presentations throughout the district.
The elementary school held readings with the Buckeyes, where Thomas Matthews, Thad Gibson, Gary Berry, Jeff Greene, and Shaun Lane all read to various classes. They were reminded to keep their energy high, smile for the kids, and encourage them to “be their best.”
For Elementary Principal Ed Eales, the readings are an opportunity for students to hear from players they look up to about hard work and achieving your goals.
“It is a pleasure for us to have them here in the elementary, because they come and read to the kids. We have them read some silly books and some serious books, but they also talk about their experience, where they’ve been to school, and all the things they had to overcome. It helps our kids understand they need to work to get to your goals,” Eales said.
“I think it is really important, because the kids see us every day and look up to us, but these guys are at a higher level than us. When they come in once a year and talk to the kids, I think it is really special and the kids really take their message to heart.”
At the same time, assemblies were held for the middle and high school students. Jamal Luke spoke to the fifth and sixth grade, while Jay Richardson spoke to the seventh and eighth grade. Tyler Everett spoke to freshmen and sophomores, while Doug Worthington and Damon Dillard split their time between juniors and seniors.
The theme of the presentations was “leave your mark.”
Driven Foundation President Roy Hall explained, “In other words, while you’re here, no matter how young or old you are, you can make a difference and leave a positive impact on another person’s life. We talked about that, becoming the best people we can possibly be, not hesitating, not procrastinating, but really trying to develop into becoming an elite person of character. That was the theme for today. Be thankful, give maximum effort in everything that you do, and leave your mark.”
Once the motivational talks were over, it was time for the Outreach Basketball Game. The night ended with a community barbecue dinner. During the dinner, there was a silent auction with Buckeye memorabilia for sale.
National Trail Superintendent Bob Fischer opened the dinner by speaking about the impact the Buckeye Outreach Day makes on the National Trail Community.
“Today was a great day of energy and excitement for our staff and students. Our goal for today and tonight is to continue to send a message about the importance of coming together as a team and work to build a strong relationship and bond with our NT Community and Family! Without this bond and relationship, success will be hard road and mountain to climb for our students,” Fischer said.
“As we progressed through today, my hope is that our students heard a strong message about teamwork, looking out for each other and the importance of being a better you. Tonight, my hope is that you hang on to the words spoken as well as our later message and that you continue to be a willing partner with National Trail in order to help us climb the path of success and ensure that National Trail continues to be a great place.”
The full day of outreach brought money into the district in different ways. Sponsorship funds, t-shirt sales, barbecue ticket sales, donations, and auction funds all help to benefit the local community. Funds received from the event are split 50/50 between the Driven Foundation and National Trail Local School District. The money the district receives is split between the School Success Program, two community food banks, and Preble County United Way.
At press time, over $25,000 had been raised. However, final numbers were not yet available. Most of the money is raised through sponsorships.
Sponsors included: The Henny Penny Corporation, and the New Paris Chamber, Lifetouch, National Trail Foundation, Pepsi, Eaton Rotary Club, Wallace Heating and Air, Jostens, NT FFA Alumni, Waibel Energy, Parker Hannifin, Reid, Preble County Youth Foundation, Timken, Kettering Health Center, Lawn Plus, National Trail Administration, Frost Brown Todd Attorneys at Law, Cargill, Fraternal Order of Police, and Silfex.
For Henny Penny, it is a matter of being a good community partner.
“We have a foundation that we’ve developed and employees all year long give money to the Employee Foundation and the company matches it. Our board of directors decide who we want to give money to and the Driven Foundation is something we’ve sponsored before, even before the foundation came into existence, Henny Penny has sponsored this event. They’ve been a Titled Sponsor for years,” Henny Penny Employee Foundation Board of Directors member Tina O’Neal said.
“One of our mission statements in the Foundation is to help children, childhood hunger, inspire and motivate for the betterment of the entire community. It was a good fit for what we feel like we want to do with the employee money. We like that it is a day long thing and is geared around motivating the kids. It involves the entire community, not just the kids at school. There are multiple ways for the community to participate.”
For Lawn Plus owner Rodney Creech, it is important to support the community and give back in ways that matter.
“We always like to support our community, but anytime we can support things to help our kids, that is what we like to do. It is important for these kids to see what it takes to be a leader and step up and be responsible from these role models. I like the power, it is like a big pep rally on life. It is a great event,” he said.
For the Driven Foundation and Hall, it is all about using your platform to give back to the community.
“The Driven Foundation seeks to serve others with our platform. Our purpose in this world is to take whatever platform that we have and help other achieve what they couldn’t without us. Driven is actually the mindset of many people – how do you stay motivated, stay inspired, how do you keep going even though your mind or body says you shouldn’t. Whenever you put people before yourself, you will figure out a way to keep going,” Hall said.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year, from the Driven Foundation perspective, because of this community. It is a tight knit community, every up and down, everyone pretty much sticks together. We try to figure out ways to solve problems. This Outreach Day is an opportunity for us to take Buckeye Nation and collide it with the National Trail School District. It is an opportunity to impact the kids from kindergarten all the way to seniors.”
More information on the Driven Foundation and its events can be found at staydriven.org.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH