Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School fifth-grader Andrea Tovar made her classmates day Thursday when Arizona Cardinal's players Deuce Lutui and Al Johnson made an appearance in her classroom. The players visited Lagos because fifth-grade teacher Randi Bell's class participated in the "Stay Cool in School" Super Bowl Academic Program, an annual program provided by the NFL PLAYERS and licensed trading card companies, by entering the "My Winning Moment" essay contest. The program required students to write 200 words or less describing something they did that made them feel like a winner. Tovar's essay was chosen as one of 10 winners from over 1,000 entries. "I wrote about my reading buddy, Sevanna, and how she made me feel like a winner because she listens and pays attention to me when I read to her," Tovar said. "I also said that it makes me happy because when I had a reading buddy I looked up to her a lot and it makes me feel good that Sevanna looks up to me." Essays were judged on creativity, relevance to theme, spirit and legibility by an independent panel of educators and local "Stay Cool in School" ambassador Larry Fitzgerald, a wide receiver for the Cardinals. The top 10 winners and their classrooms were visited Thursday and Friday by NFL players. Each student received two tickets to the NFL Experience, "Stay Cool in School" T-shirts, NFL PLAYERS mini footballs and trading cards. In Bell's classroom Tovar sat between Lutui and Johnson and read her essay Thursday morning. Afterwards, the players answered Tovar's classmates' questions as she called on them. They autographed footballs for each student and passed out NFL playing cards. Tovar and Bell received an NFL PLAYERS backpacks. The "Stay Cool in School" initiative has been encouraging students academically for 13 years. This year, more than 30,000 students from the Phoenix area participated in the program, which began at the start of the 2007-08 school year. Corinne Frayer can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or cfrayer@ahwatukee.com.

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