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From the pros
Falcons stress fitness, education at Shiloh Point
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Shiloh Point students, from left, Maddie Hoss, Michael Hayden and Ben Braner clap for the two Atlanta Falcons football players who visited the school Tuesday to promote fitness and education. - photo by Jim Dean

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Click to see two Atlanta Falcons visit Shiloh Point Elementary

Shiloh Point Elementary students got a special treat Tuesday morning when Atlanta Falcons players Michael Boley and Michael Jenkins stopped by the school for a pep talk.

Several hundred students gathered in the lunchroom to cheer and listen to the players' encouraging words about education and fitness.

Jenkins told students exercising can be done anywhere, anytime.

"You don't have to be playing sports to get in shape," the Falcons wide receiver told the group. "You can take two flights of stairs instead of the elevator.

"When you're watching the Disney Channel and a commercial comes on, you can get up and do some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing."

Third-grade teacher Debbie Fahey cheered along with students as the athletes spoke.

"This is a good thing for the kids," Fahey said. "These kids who want to have careers in sports like the players up there. I tell them, 'If you want to be a sports star, you need to be able to read your contract when you get signed, and you don't want your agent to rip you off.'"

Boley agreed.

"I wouldn't be here today if I didn't have an education," he said. "A lot of your education starts right here in elementary school."

The Falcons linebacker held up a bag full of miniature footballs with Falcons logos on them. He tossed them out as

Jenkins asked students sports-related trivia.

Among the prize winners were fourth-graders Max Slott and Sam Patton, who said catching the football was "really cool."

Other students enjoyed the rally as well. Third-grader Gracelyn Lath said her favorite part was watching the players hold a push-up contest.

Several students and third-grade teacher Scott Gaglione dropped to the lunchroom's stage floor and competed to see who could do the most push-ups.

Brian Saakes, also a third-grader, found it "funny" watching his classmates and Gaglione, who he said did the best job.

Physical education teacher Cate Hernandez led the event. Fahey said Hernandez was the driving force behind getting the football players to come speak.

Jenkins encouraged students to pay attention to school staff.

"Listen to your teachers," he said. "Learn from them, and it will take you a long way in life."

Falcons cheerleaders Erika Fitz and Tamara Harris also attended the rally.