HAMILTON, Ohio — Chase your dreams like Ja’Marr Chase. Put your best foot forward like Evan McPherson.
Those are just a couple of the messages leaders at Ridgeway Elementary in Hamilton are sending to students as they teach during the Bengals' historic Super Bowl run.
But it’s not just about words. It’s about actions, too.
In honor of the Bengals' trip to Los Angeles, Hamilton City School District students are mobilizing to do good in the name of some of their favorite players.
During class Monday, students decorated and filled water bottles with beads to build noisemakers. They also made Bengals-themed bracelets they plan on selling. The goal: To raise money for Cincinnati native Kevin Huber’s Foundation for Underserved Rescues. The kids said they love the fact the Bengals' longest-tenured player helps shelter and rescue animals, so they’re getting in on the effort.
“He cares, and knowing he cares and has a place in his heart for those animals is a good thing,” said student Lilah Ball.
Her classmate Jason Fisher-Coffee added, “When you make it something bigger, it’s better.”
Their principal, Kathy Wagonfield, said it’s all about growing the community stakeholders of tomorrow.
“We’re all in this together," Wagonfield said. "The saying is really true — it takes a village. And that’s what we wanna get across to kids this week, too.”
Wagonfield said she wants the students to see the work the Bengals do beyond the football field, and how they use their very public platform to make the place they call home better.
That's why they didn't stop with Huber's foundation. Students also raised money for the Sam Hubbard Foundation, which works to feed the hungry. Wagonfield said the school raised more than $500 in its "Change for Charity."
No matter how the game ends, this Bengals team is making a huge impact on the children cheering them on.