By Marie Gilmore

Due to physical fitness and outdoor exercise efforts of Colleen Bevis Elementary students, the school achieved a goal and was designated as the 24th Tampa Bay Buccaneers Academy in Hillsborough County. Players, cheerleaders, Bucs’ mascot Captain Fear, and members of the Buccaneers family were on hand at Bevis for a ribbon cutting and dedication of a new covered sports court at an event that helped kick-off the end of the school year.

The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school’s new Fitness Zone, a covered court designed for children to enjoy their outdoor activities.

“Every time we install one of our shade covers at our Buccaneer Academies we hear from the schools that it’s a living visual dedication that shows the children that we’re committed for the long term and it shows them that people really care about them,” Glazer Family Foundation President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz said.

In addition to the ribbon cutting and dedication, fifth grade students got the extra thrill of being led in organized football drills by Buccaneers players Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander, Keith Tandy, Kevin Pamphile, Cameron Brate, Andrew DePaola and Josh Keyes.

“That’s pretty special to know the kids look up to you that much and for them to see you and to see their faces light up and get all excited, that’s probably one of the most humbling experiences you can have as a professional athlete,” long snapper Andrew DePaola said.

Bevis Elementary School Principal Melanie Cochrane expressed her thanks for becoming a Buccaneers Academy and for the Fitness Zone.

“I think it’s great to see how the Buccaneers support education and support kids and their physical fitness which then impacts them in the classroom,” Cochrane said.

The Buccaneers and the American Heart Association present the Play 60 Challenge as a way to encourage students to get active. The students recorded more hours of physical activity than any other school, with more than 92,605 minutes of activity during the month-long challenge which was an average of 2,778 minutes per student. Visit cademy or

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!