Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Kind.
That is the school motto of the Roadrunners at Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary in Anaheim. And those words are now a permanent fixture in murals that were painted on walls at the school as a part of the Anaheim Ducks “Power PLAY!” makeover project.
On Monday, while the kids were off for the Veteran’s Day holiday, over 150 members of the Ducks staff, coaching team, broadcast team and fans volunteered their day painting murals, planting trees and building garden beds at the school. Even several of the school’s teachers came in on their day off to lend a hand in the campus upgrades.
And if those improvements weren’t enough, Maxwell Elementary is now the first school to have their very own permanent street hockey rink.
That means these kids can play hockey at every recess and during after-school programs now, and for years to come.
“It’s a celebration of kids, community and education,” said Marcy Chant, Maxwell’s principal. “We are so excited and so thankful to the Ducks for all they have done for us.”
All over the campus, the volunteers were hard at work. Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau was working on the school’s new garden. Ducks PA announcer Phil Hulett was painting murals. Ducks television color analyst Brian Hayward was helping install the street hockey rink. And Ducks former Captain, and admitted resident “tree-hugger”, Scott Niedermayer was where else? Planting trees.
“I grew up playing street hockey,” said Niedermayer. “This is fun for the kids to be able to play right here at their school.”
Approximately 60 Ducks premium and season seat holders volunteered their time as well.
“It’s great to be here with fellow fans, talking hockey and helping the kids,” said Anita Brady, a Ducks season seat holder for five years. “It doesn’t seem like work at all. It’s a lot of fun.”
A long time and enthusiastic participant in the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation and Education) Program through the efforts of fourth grade teacher Kristin Jones, Maxwell Elementary was selected from over 200 schools that participate in this initiative that impacts local youth through education and the sport of hockey.
And when it was time for recess Tuesday morning, the kids didn’t waste any time breaking in their new rink.
“I love hockey,” said fifth grader Jeimy Bartolata, with a big grin on her face. “And now I can play it here at recess.”
The school’s fourth, fifth and sixth graders gathered around the rink and took turns playing street hockey and cheering on their classmates. They then gathered inside their playground’s newest addition for a Reading is the GOAL assembly hosted by Kent French that celebrated their campus improvements and the importance of literacy in education.
Ducks television play-by-play announcer, John Ahlers, kicked things off by reading “Brady Brady and the Great Rink” to the kids.
“Brady’s rink became a great rink because he was able to share it,” said Ahlers. “You can make your new rink great too for the next five, 10, even 50 years by sharing it with each other and all the classes behind you.”
Wild Wing and Ducks alum Jeff Friesen joined Ahlers in presenting principal Chant and Maxwell Elementary with a complete set of street hockey equipment and storage unit for the new rink, an autographed team jersey and a donation of new books for the school’s library.
On the surface, it may just look like some paint, wood, concrete and trees. But the efforts of the Anaheim Ducks and all of the volunteers behind these simple supplies are doing much more than just making an elementary school look a little nicer. They are leaving a permanent legacy, a legacy that will allow every child that passes through this school the opportunity to learn the value of education, healthy living, literacy and character, all through the great sport of hockey.
I can’t think of a better way to make a positive impact on the future of our youth.
And the kids at Maxwell Elementary get to see with their own eyes what being Respectful, Responsible, Safe and Kind looks like when lived out in a very real way.
Anaheim Ducks “Power PLAY!” partners included: Anaheim Beautiful; DAR, Enrich LA; Operation Clean Slate; OM Concrete, Inc.; Pepsi; Pinnacle Landscaping; Tree People; Wahoo’s Fish Tacos