Just for added measure, in case the students at Archimedean Middle Conservatory in Miami didn’t believe that to be fact, Carroll’s mother Jennifer confirmed it. She happens to be the Lieutenant Governor of Florida, so her words certainly carried some weight this morning.
The Carrolls were on campus to present the school with a $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 grant for health and wellness programming or equipment. It was in recognition of the solid efforts put forth at Archimedean to make sure all of the kids followed a righteous physical fitness regimen and the school is officially a Play 60 Super School.
“When Nolan was a little baby he was playing and walking around in his little stroller,” Lieutenant Governor Carroll told the students during the assembly that took place before the actual fitness exhibition. “I’d prop him up with a pillow and he’d be in a stroller walking around the house like bumper cars. He’d run into everybody’s feet but it helped him to become this athlete that he is today.”
She went on to tell the funny story about how Nolan looked “like a Ninja Turtle” on roller blades when he put on all of the pads and his helmet. The moral of her story was that she and her husband preached the importance of exercise and activity to all of their children and explained about how having a healthy body leads to having a healthy mind.
Following the assembly and check presentation, everyone headed out to the athletic field behind the classrooms and there were three fitness stations set up. There was one with jump ropes, one with hula-hoops and another one with cones for the kids to run around and catch passes. They also did some exercises with small hand weights and Nolan and his mother took part as well.
“This was special to be able to do this with my mother, especially since it involves Play 60 because my mom was such an influence on me to get out of the house and do something besides playing video games all day,” said Nolan, who is entering his third season with the Dolphins. “She was the one who actually got me into playing soccer and basketball also playing football when I was younger. So for her to take part in something like this is very special for me and her.”
Nolan’s competitive juices got flowing at one point when one of the students ran through the cones and looked to catch a pass as he jumped in front for the interception. That drew some loud cheers and laughs from everyone.
“We were doing one-on-ones over here by the jump rope and then he tried to do a double move on me,” Nolan explained. “And then I saw him over here running, he said he was Randy Moss, and I couldn’t help myself. I saw the ball in the air and it was just natural.”
Archmedean’s Principal Vasiliki Moysidis was dressed for action as well and couldn’t be prouder of her students and her school. Being honored like this by the National Football League made it a triple play for the school, as it also is a blue ribbon school and was voted as the number one school academically in the state of Florida.
Moysidis did her due diligence before today’s activities and looked up Carroll and his mother on the Internet. She was impressed with his educational record and how he has overcome adversity in the past by bouncing back from a broken leg during his high school career.
“We are very honored to have both of them here and I will use them both as role models going forward – Nolan for the boys and his mother for the girls,” Moysidis said. “We always strive for balance in our school between academic excellence and also providing healthy activities for the kids. He really got the message across about staying healthy and staying in the books and his mother, as a woman, I couldn’t be more honored that she was here. She’s the first African-American woman to be elected lieutenant governor and as a mother she clearly passed on excellent values to her son.”
So while Moysidis was honored to have them there Nolan’s mother was glowing with pride over how her son has turned out and how he handled himself today.
“I’m very proud of him and the main reason is he has kept his humility,” Lieutenant Governor Carroll said. “He hasn’t let this go to his head. He’s still grounded. He’s still very family-focused and that means when he and his siblings and his dad and I always did everything as a family. And the lessons that he was taught at home he’s brought it forward and he did that today. He was articulate, he was poised and confident and hopefully the students will see that in him and use that as an example.”
Archimedean earned the $10,000 grant from Play 60 after entering the Back To Football Friday contest last fall. They had to write three essays – one about how the school celebrated the return to football, how the school stays committed to youth health and wellness and what they would do with the $10,000 grant. They also provided Play 60 with the photos of the celebration.
“I’m so proud and we were excited about having Nolan here alone but his mother being here was a bonus,” said Jackie Gomez, who wrote the essays and planned the event. “It was great to hear Nolan say his favorite subject in school was physics. I was so impressed because we are a science school as well as a Greek school and he showed a great message that you can be smart and still be a great athlete by being healthy, exercising and hitting the books.”
Carroll’s mother also presented a $1,000 check on behalf of P&G’s Super Parent to one of the parents at the school. Overall, Nolan was left with a strong impression.
“This is great and congratulations to the academy,” he said. “They’ve been putting in a lot of work and you can see the kids are enjoying it. They’re all special and you can just tell in their eyes they’re happy this is going on and for me to take part in this, this is something special for me as well.”