The Grade 6 students at David Lewis Public School were so excited Tuesday morning they could barely stay in their seats.
As the students brimmed with excitement, some just couldn’t resist the urge to stand up and imitate the pitching windup or batting stance of their favourite Blue Jays player. After all, the students had a good reason to be keyed up — they were awaiting a visit from Jays hurler Casey Janssen.
When Janssen finally did arrive, the classroom of students exploded with applause. It was a reaction Janssen won’t soon forget.
“It’s gratifying because I’m no different than anyone else,” said Janssen, whose favourite subject in school was math. “But for them, they look up to us so much and it’s so exciting for them. You don’t get that very often and it’s gratifying.”
Janssen was visiting the Scarborough school as part of the Jays@School program, which is an online educational resource that uses the Jays and baseball as the basis for elementary teaching and lesson plans. David Lewis entered and won a contest to become one of six schools to receive a visit from a Jays player this year.
While in the classroom, Janssen fielded questions from the students before signing autographs.
“This is the best day of my life,” Grade 6 student Asia Powell said to one of her friends after they received signatures with TV cameras rolling in the background.
After the classroom visit, Janssen moved on to an assembly, where he was treated to an even louder response. As he walked into the school’s gymnasium, a crowd of more than 330 students made the walls echo with cheers. As well, a group of children performed a pompom dance for the Toronto right-hander, with OK Blue Jays, Let’s Play Ball blaring in the background.
“You guys are definitely one of the more rambunctious groups I’ve been in front of,” Janssen said with a smile, before taking part in a Q&A session.
Teacher David Bourne, who entered his school in the contest, deemed the day a great success.
“Today was just the cake,” Bourne said. “Incredible. Superb. Awesome. Those are some adjectives. They were really into it. It encompassed the whole school.”
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