Chase Elementary School students thought they were getting a "very special" NFL rally on Purple Friday. It turned out they didn't know how special.
A group of purple-clad fifth-graders at Chase were the first to find out as they gathered for a late breakfast of cereal and milk, and they were joined by Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Smith, a former Terp fresh off the Ravens' win over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, had breakfast, then spoke to the entire student body at Chase about fitness and nutrition.
"Anytime I get the opportunity to go to any elementary school, even family and friends, I'll go out and hang out at the school all day," said Smith, who added he was "honored" to appear at Chase.
The appearance was part of the NFL's Fuel Up To Play 60 program. The program, a partnership between the league and the National Dairy Council, encourages healthy habits for children.
"Obviously, our country, we have a problem in terms of being healthy, childhood obesity and just obesity in general," Smith said. The program is "doing a great job trying to change that."
When he was introduced to the class, he went from table to table and met each of the students individually.
While eating breakfast, Smith fielded questions from the students. He spoke about his time in New Orleans, including the pregame Media Day ("All these cameras times a milion," he said) and having his family there to watch the win. Students also chatted with him about video games, the offseason and, of course, football.
"Joe's [referring to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco] an MVP now. That's hard to top," he joked to a student who talked about wanting to be a quarterback.
After breakfast and a group photo with students, Smith went to the school's auditorium to surprise the entire school.
Over this school year, other stars like Ravens mascot Poe and Baltimore Blast midfielder Pat Healey have dropped by to meet Chase students.
Smith is easily the biggest star to drop by the school. And principal Douglas Elmendorf commended his staff for keeping the appearance—which came together quickly after the Super Bowl—a surprise.
"It all came together in the last couple of days, and the hardest thing to do was to keep it a secret as much as we could," he said.
Elmendorf said that having a Ravens player just days removed from winning the Lombardi trophy tell students that listening to their parents and teachers and eating healthy were keys to success as an athlete had a huge impact.
"I think it's a really good message for them," Elmendorf said, recalling overhearing a student saying, "I didn't really drink milk before, but now that Torrey Smith is, I'm going to start."