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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Seaton and Marie Reed elementary schools come together on same team for soccer clinic



Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

The weather outside was freezing cold, but inside the Marie Reed gym, things were just warming up.

The Panthers gathered in small circles, playing a game called “Head or Catch” with DC SCORES staff members Carlos Fonesca and Zachary Gomes. The students caught or headed soccer balls thrown to them —  with only a second to decide! —  based on instructions shouted by the coach in the middle of the circle.

As Marie Reed warmed up for its final soccer session of the six-week Winter SCORES season, the kids knew this one would be a bit different. The Panthers would be joined by Seaton Elementary School for a scrimmage. There was a catch, though.

The scrimmage was not going to be Reed vs. Seaton. Instead, the students were all mixed up and put onto multiple teams comprised of players from both school.



“What does 'clinic' mean?” Carlos asked the assembled soccer players, “It means we’re going to have fun!”

Each team took a moment for students from the schools to introduce themselves and pick a team name. Though the students seemed a little hesitant initially to play with teammates they had never met before, that quickly melted away when the whistle was blown and the first ball rolled out.

“I’m kind of shy, so I was nervous,” said Elizabeth M., age 9, of Seaton. “But they’re nice and I’m having fun.”

Orquidea B., age 9 of Reed, said she had similar feelings at first, but thought meeting new people was fun.

“The clinic is cool today because we get to play with Seaton,” Orquidea said.

Each team took the field for 10 minutes, rotating around the gym so they had a chance to play against everyone. The din of soccer balls pounding against walls and players shouting encouragement and directions to each other was so loud, it was often hard to hear when the time period was up.

So though there was no clear winner in the Seaton vs. Marie Reed scrimmage, it was clear that the games they played brought these schools and communities together through something they both love — soccer.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Healthy & Happy at Marie Reed, Part III: Lessons learned from Winter SCORES



As a part of the winter season with DC SCORES, intern Kristen Miano is spending some time with the Marie Reed Panthers as they learn about healthy eating and healthy living. Kristen is writing about her experience being in the classroom with the students as they grow in their understanding of how to live healthier and happier lives through better nutrition and active lifestyles. You can follow Kristen and her observations on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.

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Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

The last nutrition class for the Marie Reed Panthers took an overarching look at the entire season by asking the students a very basic question: Where does our food come from?

Starting off simply, nutrition teacher Carolyn Brandt asked the class where meat comes from.

“Animals!” was the resounding answer.

But there was more to the answer, though. We can eat two different kinds of animal products: meat and other items that come from animals.

“What comes from animals that we don’t need to kill the animals for?” asked Ms. Brandt.

“Tofu!” was one, emphatic answer.



Other correct answers included milk, eggs, cheese and the spectrum of dairy products.

The discussion then moved on to plant-based foods, like all the fruits and vegetables the class had learned about during the six-week season. Though most whole fruits and vegetables are easily identified as plants, it was important to note that most are different parts of the plant. For example, a potato is a plant root, but celery is a plant stem. Broccoli is a flower, while spinach is a leaf.

Next, the students divided into two teams -- boys versus girls -- to test their knowledge. Whenever the teacher held up a picture of a food, the teams were told to act out where the food came from to score points. For example, if the food came from an animal, the entire team needed to flap their arms like a chicken. If the food came from a plant, the team had to wave their hands like leaves on a tree. Though each team did extremely well, the girls’ team won the game by a single point.

Snack during the final week was a little different than usual. The “tasting” snack was designed to reinforce one of the main themes of the entire season: Trying new foods can be fun. Each student got to try a sample of a new, healthy food from a variety of options, including rice cakes, hummus, blueberries, yogurt raisins, sunflower seeds and baby carrots.

Despite initial protests that the hummus “looked gross” and that the rice cakes “aren’t rice krispie treats,” many of the students enjoyed the snack so much, they came back for seconds.

As the Winter SCORES season wrapped up its final nutrition class, the students took a moment to reflect on what they learned.

“I learned that we need good nutrition and that there are different kinds of food groups,” said Mamadou D., age 10, “We should eat healthy foods and be careful of what we eat.”

Jacqueline W., age 9, said she learned it was important to read nutrition labels, especially when it comes to checking a food’s fat content.

“I can eat healthy by eating lots of vegetables,” she added. “Also, fruits and dairy are healthy too.”

Overall, the Marie Reed Panthers are walking away from Winter SCORES with a better understanding of how to lead happier and healthier lives by picking the right foods to eat. The lessons they’ve learned are important for health now, will help them be better soccer players this spring season, and most importantly will continue to benefit them as they grow and learn beyond this season.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Poem of the Week: Diana H., Barnard Elementary School



During the winter, we will highlight just a handful of the original poems that students wrote during the fall season and performed at the 17th Annual DC SCORES Poetry Slam! in early December. To watch any performance from the Slam!, visit our YouTube channel.

Mandala
I am a rose so pretty as can be
Like a swan so elegant and pretty
Like a flute so musical and bright
In summer so hot, and cold in the winter
So quiet and sad but happy and loud
Like fire and water, hot and cold
Never dark like a cloud, always light as the sun
Bright pink like the stars, but never dark as black

Diana H. 
Barnard Elementary School

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Healthy & Happy at Marie Reed, Part II: Nutritious fast food



As a part of the winter season with DC SCORES, intern Kristen Miano is spending some time with the Marie Reed Panthers as they learn about healthy eating and healthy living. Kristen is writing about her experience being in the classroom with the students as they grow in their understanding of how to live healthier and happier lives through better nutrition and active lifestyles. You can follow Kristen and her observations on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.

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Written by Kristen Miano
Digital Media Intern

Fast food is often cheap, easy and, for the most part, very unhealthy. But does it always have to be? Last Tuesday, the Marie Reed Panthers met up to find out.

The students were presented with nutrition fact labels for the ingredients in a small hamburger from a standard fast food restaurant and were tasked with adding up all the fat and calories of each item to figure out the totals for the entire sandwich. This hamburger may be a normal lunch for some, but the 790 calories and 36 grams of fat were shocking for everyone.

“There aren’t even a lot of nutrients in the burger for all the calories and fat you’re getting,” said nutrition teacher Carolyn Brandt. “Except for maybe the tomato and the lettuce, there’s hardly any vitamins or minerals in the burger.”

When asked what else they could order at a restaurant that may be healthier, the students were quick to respond with answers like salads and sandwiches. One student suggested going to Subway over places like McDonalds or Burger King because the sub shop tends to have more healthy choices to pick from.

The students also recalled what they learned in class the previous week when asked what they could order to drink.

“Water!” was the loud, unanimous answer.

One common problem the students also discussed was the prevalence of fast food advertising over commercials for healthy options. In an effort to combat this, the Panthers closed out their lesson by drawing their own ideas for commercials to promote healthy food.

One group decided to make an advertisement that featured the famous soccer star, Lionel Messi, ordering a salad at a fast food joint.

“If people see Messi ordering healthy food,” said Emelisa U., age 10, “they will want to order it too.”

When asked what he learned, Titus R., age 8, nicely summed up the lesson when he said that fast food restaurants aren’t really good for you, but have some okay options.

“I learned that fast food restaurants aren’t healthy,” Titus said. “(But) you can order a salad. That would be healthy.”

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poem of the Week: Ilan Z., Capital City Public Charter School



During the winter, we will highlight just a handful of the original poems that students wrote during the fall season and performed at the 17th Annual DC SCORES Poetry Slam! in early December. To watch any performance from the Slam!, visit our YouTube channel.

The Universe
Look up at the stars
Gaze at the moon
See Venus and Saturn
A glorious sight
Shooting stars Shine so bright
In a milky way full of good and bad
Now I am thankful for the life I have

Ilan Z.
Capital City Public Charter School

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lincoln Middle School students visit White House, ask questions of pro soccer players


Written by Zach Gomes
Soccer Coordinator and Lincoln Middle School coach

The DC SCORES Lincoln Middle School Knights got to meet the MLS Champion, LA Galaxy, and NHL Champion, LA Kings, — and we got to do it at the White House!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I was informed that the White House wanted to invite around 30 middle school-aged kids to join the Galaxy for their championship presentation and, possibly, a soccer clinic. The Lincoln Knights were a perfect fit, so it was decided that we were going.

It takes a lot of work to get 30 kids to the White House. It involves permission slips and a lot of other data collection. After all, the White House isn’t your everyday field trip.

With help from Ms. Pugh (the DC SCORES champion at Lincoln) and my colleagues, we began planning for the trip. I couldn’t have been more excited. I had wanted to bring the kids on a field trip since day one as their coach in the fall, and to finally be going somewhere was awesome; the fact it was the White House was icing on the cake.

I was flabbergasted at the response from some of the kids when I told them we had been selected to go to the White House.

Me: “We’re going to the White House next week, guys!”

Student: “Why?” (Unenthusiastically)

Me: “Why!? Why does it matter!? It’s the White House, people!”

Student: “Hmmmm okay. Well do we get to miss class?”

Me: “Well yes … but that’s not the point! It’s the White House!”



I couldn’t believe some of the kids, but I got over it. After all, they’re kids.

My colleagues and I got all the paperwork in on time. We would go to the White House on Monday.

The Friday night before our trip, I got a call from Soccer Program Manager Carlos Fonseca. Carlos had good news and bad news.

Bad news: The clinic on the White House lawn is canceled!

(My mind at this point: ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! NOOOO!!!)

Good news: We are still going to the White House and we are going to watch President Obama congratulate both teams.

(My mind at this point: ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!! YESSSSS!!!!)

Monday came and I wore my best suit (my only suit) and headed to Lincoln to get the kids ready.

We got to the White House right on time and made it through security and into the White House’s East wing (not a bad-looking house).

The students and I were led into a packed room filled with cameras and fancy people. After a little while, the Kings and Galaxy entered the room and filled up the stage. Soon after that, there was an announcement: “And now the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.”


I looked over at the kids. Finally, they were impressed. If only the President could be present at all my classes and practices.

President Obama congratulated both teams and took some pictures. It was a short celebration, but only the beginning for the kids.

After the President exited the room, the entire Lincoln team was led into another room not far away. There was a stage and several chairs set up. Every chair had a Galaxy jersey, a soccer ball and a Galaxy winter hat on it. The kids loved their new gear.

After putting the jerseys on, the kids participated in a Q & A with some of the pros from both the Galaxy and Kings. The kids asked awesome questions.

“Did anybody ever tell you that you couldn’t make it?”

“How did it feel to score your first goal?”

“What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in a game?”

The kids got their jerseys and soccer balls signed and took some pictures with the pros. As we exited the White House and made our way back to the bus, every kid was beaming.

Katie S., an eighth-grader who has been with DC SCORES for three years, walked up to me as we left and said, “Coach Zach, we are really lucky.”

It was a great experience for every kid involved — something they will be able to talk about for the rest of their lives, long after they outgrow the soccer jersey.