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Yardley teenager selected to announce NFL draft pick


With the country adapting to its new normal, one Bucks County teen, a Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) ambassador, decided to take the necessary steps to keep his Pennsbury School District eating right and exercising after schools shut down due to coronavirus concerns. FUTP 60 Ambassadors are select champions for student wellness in their schools.

With assistance from his teachers, Samarth Mannikeri, a 13-year-old in eighth-grade at Charles Boehm Middle School, created an interactive FUTP60 Google Classroom for his fellow students to follow and update with Chromebooks provided by the district.

Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school health and wellness program launched by the NFL and American Dairy Association North East, empowers today’s youth to lead healthier lives. Through this program, students are encouraged to eat nutritious foods – including dairy, fruits, veggies, and whole grains – and exercise for 60 minutes daily.

The NFL took notice of Samarth’s initiative and selected him as one of four students nationwide to participate in the draft, which begins on Thursday, April 23. “I was shocked to be chosen by the NFL. I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’ It was mind-blowing,” exclaimed the teen who lives in Yardley. “So many thoughts were running through my head. It was surreal.”

The NFL acknowledged the resourcefulness of Samarth, whose FUTP60 Google Classroom provided things to do when taking a break, like make-your-own smoothie recipes with milk, fruits and vegetables and gave tips for quick workouts like jogging.

“The teachers and advisors let me set it up through Google Classroom. I’m like the teacher of the Fuel Up to Play 60 student classroom,” Samarth explained. “The program allows me to issue updates, make announcements and suggest activities, such as physical workouts and healthy eating with dairy recipes, for the students. And the cool thing is, it’s not just for my school, it’s for the entire district.”

Samarth has already received his virtual draft kit from the NFL and has participated in some dry runs with the technical team. He will announce the Philadelphia Eagles’ draft pick on Saturday, April 25 (Day 3). The draft that day begins at noon.