FORT WAYNE – Even before the beloved Blue had taken the floor, the fist pumping, hand clapping and foot stomping echoed through the Croninger Elementary gym.
The crowd of children, most dressed in blue Indianapolis Colts gear, prepared for a lesson in P.R.I.D.E. presented by the popular team mascot, Blue.
Reese Haines, 8, was decked out in a Colts jersey, blue-and-white headband and bracelet.
“My dad, he really likes the Colts and I watch with him sometimes,” Reese explained, tugging at her jersey.
The second-grader said she was excited for Tuesday’s program but also to see Blue.
Blue and his emcee, Janelle Christie, visited Croninger to present the program to two groups of students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
The Colts’ Take P.R.I.D.E. in Yourself program teaches students five steps to success with magic tricks, audience participation and humor.
Throughout the program, Blue visited with students, showed off his dance skills and pulled several students and teachers from their seats to participate in games and magic tricks.
Students shouted each letter as Blue flipped large posters over.
“P,” they yelled. Physical fitness. Students should take part in at least 60 minutes of exercise each day, Christie explained.
“R,” some shouted. Respect.
“I,” came the next. Intelligent decisions. Those include saying no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, Christie said.
“D,” echoed through the gym. Diet. Eating healthy and balanced food is important as young people grow, Christie said.
“E,” they screamed. Education.
Tyler Martin, 8, and two of his classmates said they already do most of the five steps.
“Basically I do all of them except education, but that’s because I’m in second grade. I’ll go to college later,” Martin said.
Keegan Edwards and Jawyonne Hill, both 8, nodded in agreement.
“The best part was when Blue danced like crazy,” Hill added.