A Titan-sized surprise

Mar. 18—Two days after spring break, Castle Heights Elementary students filed into the gym dressed in the colors of the Tennessee Titans.

As the bleachers filled, the kids began a chant of "Lets Go Titans," filling the air with excitement.

After Castle Heights Elementary School placed second in a ticket fundraising competition, its students won an opportunity to participate in T-Rac's Fuel Up to Play 60 game show and a visit from the mascot himself.

Other special guests included former Titans cornerback Reynaldo Hill and Titans cheerleader Heather Hamilton.

Technology teacher Angie Clark applied for Castle Heights Elementary School to partner with the Tennessee Titans four years ago. Since that time, Castle Heights Elementary and 10 others across Middle Tennessee have competed in ticket fundraiser events for a chance to win special prizes, such as a Titans pep rally.

"They would give us access to discounted tickets for home games, and we would put out the links to the staff and the students," Clark said. "We would get $10 for every ticket that was sold, and the tickets were around $45."

Students were unaware that their gym had been transformed into a Titans celebration on Tuesday when they arrived at school.

"We did pretty good that first year," Clark said. "Then, 2020 hit, and they didn't do it that year. Last year, we participated and had a really good turn out. This year, we just had lots of people participate. We were trying to be a part of the top three, because the top three schools were the ones who received the Titans show. We worked really hard, and our families bought tickets, shared it with their family and friends. We ended up winning second place, so we won one of the pep rallies."

The school's fundraising efforts raised a total of $1,860 for its school-wide positive behavior program.

The main focus of the show put on by the Titans was to teach the students how to eat healthy and stay active through games and trivia.

"It has a focus on healthy living and healthy habits," Castle Heights Elementary Principal Shelly Armstrong said. "Eating well and being active is a component, as well as players and cheerleaders (who are a part of the show). We don't really know (who will attend) until they get here."

The students were told that they were having an assembly and were having a Titans gear day, but they were surprised when they found out that the assembly was actually the game show.

"Most kids in the area know the Titans and know that's a big deal," Armstrong said. "Just knowing that a Titan or someone related to them is in the building is exciting for them."

During the show, teachers competed in trivia, a jump-roping contest and battled alongside students to see who could stack the most apples. At the end of the show, students received parting advice from their guests.

"My biggest advice would be listening to someone in your family that you look up to," Hamilton said. "You always want to have at least one person in your corner supporting you throughout your entire life, whether you're 7 years old or 77 years old."