Westbrook and Williams Congratulate Sooner Rose Elementary

Sooner Rose Elementary’s Principal Lou Ann LeClair and Child Nutrition Data Specialist Barbara Bertot realized their school was just a few points away from winning their region’s National School Breakfast challenge, so they set their plan into action.

Over a two-day period, the school rallied together to serve 563 breakfasts to their students, who waited patiently in the hallway to help the school win the challenge over 24 other schools in the area. As a special reward, Thunder guards Russell Westbrook and Reggie Williams dropped by the Midwest City elementary school on Friday to congratulate them. When the duo walked into the gymnasium, an orchestra of cheers, applause and Thunder chants rained down.

“It was just like Christmas lights,” LeClair said of her students in that moment. “They just sparkled.”

The Thunder pair each spoke to the students about the importance of breakfast and commended the children on their commitment to starting their day with a healthy meal. Westbrook remembers being in his elementary school in Los Angeles growing up, eating school breakfasts exactly like those hundreds of children in attendance on Friday morning.

“I came to school just for the breakfast most of the time early in the mornings,” Westbrook said. “It’s important to start your days off eating well, being able to think or you’ll lose concentration in class.”

“It’s a big part of what we do here, feed kids,” LeClair explained. “So encouraging them to eat breakfast every day helps test scores, helps attitude and helps behavior. It’s important that the kids get to eat breakfast.”

It would be hard to blame the Sooner Rose kids for nearly bursting at the seams with excitement, considering it was their last day of school before spring break, but this event was special for another reason. Sooner Rose will be moving campuses after this year, so Friday’s visit from Westbrook and Williams was a perfect spring event to commemorate the building’s last year.

Westbrook is a major fixture in the Oklahoma City community, so he tries to make his mark by giving back to local youths on a regular basis- both with the Thunder and in his own time. Williams saw his first game action for the Thunder on Thursday night, scoring five points, then got out into the community on Friday to meet the youngest generations of Thunder fans.

“It’s great just for one, the opportunity to play last night with the Thunder and then two to just be in the community and see Oklahoma City,” Williams said. “To come around and see these kids and people in the community and how inviting to us and the players, it’s awesome.”

“It’s a great feeling to be able to walk into a room and have all the kids screaming at such a loud pitch,” Westbrook said. “It’s a great event for myself and Reggie to come out to.”

The ties between the Thunder organization reaches deep in the Oklahoma City community, from its players and coaches visiting local citizens to the organization reaching out to give to those in need. It goes even further for Bertot, who also works as an usher during Thunder home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena. From her work on game days, Bertot knows there is a motto that exists in the organization about all of its employees.

“You guys are a part of our Thunder family,” Bertot said, echoing the mantra.

With Westbrook and Williams’ visit, Bertot, the kids and faculty certainly felt the embrace of that Thunder family as it reached out on Friday at Sooner Rose.

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