Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks is the buzz around Metro Atlanta and Georgia. It’s a must win for the Atlanta Falcons and Falcons fans are looking at home team advantage as they cheer for victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Among the rooting fans is a Henry County PE teacher who has earned a special Falcons’ title.
The game day excitement is especially high over Hampton Elementary School in Henry County where students are winning daily with physical education teacher Merry Watkins. The school’s twenty year P.E. teacher always promotes fitness and the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Merry Watkins was recently recognized by the Atlanta Falcons as the 2011-2012 First Down for Fitness Teacher of the Year.
Hampton Elementary Principal Dr. Debra Collins says, “She [Watkins] is truly a one-of-a-kind educator with a heart for children and a passion for their well-being. It is my privilege to work with Merry each day.”
Beyond physical fitness, Watkins places importance on the idea of cooperation with classmates and a community-centered approach and thought process. She does not want students to stop their thoughts on what is best for them as individuals only. She implores them to go further and think about their community.
Merry Watkins genuine care and concern for her students shows every day and is one of the reasons she is among the state’s P.E. teachers named, First Down for Fitness Teacher of the Year.
According to the program’s overview, First Down for Fitness is geared towards third through seventh grade students in Georgia in an effort to gain more participation by youth in fitness and an overall healthier lifestyle. Through the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, the program is centered on the NFL’s Play 60 Program, the American Heart Association, and Fuel Up to Play 60 nutrition program.
As a part of her recognition, Watkins earned a grant of $1,000 from Good Sports for equipment for the school. This money is to be used in selecting equipment that will best meet the needs of the school and students in the physical education class.
Watkins’ honor also earned prizes that included special game recognition in front of thousands of Falcons fans during the Nov. 29th Atlanta Falcons’ victory over the New Orleans Saints. Four teacher of the year winners were chosen from a group of 191 applications from across the state. Each winner also received a special football with their name on it during the on-field presentation. And as Merry Watkins watches Sunday’s game, bet that game day ball will hold a special place in her heart and hands as she cheers on every Falcons’ play.