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Randle El Fuels Up Robinson Students

Former Redskin speaks to middle school students about eating healthy.

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Seventh and eighth grade students pose for a photo with Antwaan Randle El. Robinson students conducted surveys to find healthy snacks for the school and as a reward, Randle El visited the school.

With his fists raised in victory, Robinson Secondary School seventh grader Osama Ghamem walked off the Robinson gymnasium basketball court on March 26 to the cheers of his classmates.

Ghamem had just won a game of "knockout," a basketball challenge in which a player must sink a basket before another shooter can score, knocking the first player out.

Ghamem’s triumph wasn’t just in winning the game. Now he can spend his spring break bragging about knocking out former Washington Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.

"It felt good to beat him," he said. "It was a lot of fun."

Randle El's first shot bricked off the hoop and while the newly signed Pittsburgh Steeler casually walked to collect his ball, Ghamem drained a free-throw shot to eliminate Randle-El. The students cheered and Randle El shook his head when he realized he had just been beaten by a seventh grader.

"I didn't know about the rules," he said, with a laugh. "I'm used to playing it different. I was just trying to play around, but I didn't realize I could lose."

OK, so it's not quite LeBron James getting dunked on during a high school basketball camp, but for Randle El, it was part of delivering a message to the students.

During a pre-spring break pep rally for the Robinson seventh and eighth grade classes, Randle El appeared as a guest speaker promoting the National Dairy Council and National Football League's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign.

The campaign's goal is to educate students about healthy eating and lifestyle choices and to encourage children to engage in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

NFL players such as Randle El serve as program ambassadors and conduct various school appearances in an effort to educate local youths.

While Randle El said that he never had an athlete come to his school and speak to him, he hoped his presence would help drive home the message.

"That's what makes this so much better," he said. "We only had our parents and coaches telling us to be in shape and eat right. To have an NFL player or NBA player come and talk to the kids about it, they hear it a little more."

During halftime of a student versus teacher basketball game, Randle El spoke about making wise eating choices and urged students to play sports or engage in physical activity after school.

"It's going to take more than gym class to be healthy," he said. "And you can't always go to McDonald's to eat."

The lessons were reinforced by games with the students such as knockout and a football throwing competition with Robinson quarterback Mike LoPresti.

Randle El then earned a victory as coach of the student-led team in the faculty versus student basketball game where the students trounced the faculty 41-21.

Randle El's visit didn't happen by chance. As part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, some Robinson students conducted surveys to find new healthy snacks for students to eat after-school.

"They found students wanted to have some additional after-school fitness activities," said Mary Aunon, after-school program specialist. "But they always like to have some healthy snacks."

After surveying the students, popcorn and sherbet were added to the school's after-school snack offerings.

As a reward for the hard work, the school decided to host a pep rally the last day of school before spring break and try to get an NFL player to participate.

"As part of the [Play 60] program, the NFL has player appearances,” Aunon said. “We applied for one and we got Randle El."

While the event was designed to be fun, Randle El hoped the students wouldn't ignore his message.

"It's not just about an NFL player coming out to speak to the kids," he said. "We want them to actually take it and listen to what we s