As the Ducks prepare for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, they have the support of the community behind them, including several local schools whose students, staff and teachers are ready to "Paint It Orange" across their campuses.
This year, 25 partner schools who participate in the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education) Program are actively committed to showing their support for the Ducks this playoff season through a number of Paint It Orange spirit rallies and other activities.
More than 35,000 orange "Let's Go Ducks" t-shirts with the phrase are being provided to students, staff members and parents at the S.C.O.R.E. partner schools as a way for kids and their families to show their commitment to the Ducks both on campus and in the community.
Wild Wing is helping with the Paint It Orange effort as well, as he can be found making stops at a number of the S.C.O.R.E. schools this week, handing out t-shirts and car flags to fans during school pick-up.
And the excitement for the students doesn't stop there, as the schools and their Paint It Orange spirit will compete against each other throughout the playoffs. After each playoff round, the school that most creatively and enthusiastically shows their Paint It Orange spirit will be chosen to receive a pizza and street hockey party as a reward for their Ducks Dedication.
Three schools from the Fullerton School District - Hermosa Drive Elementary, Beechwood School and Laguna Road Elementary - have already started to show their enthusiasm for the Ducks playoff run by gathering together for some motivational photos. Both drone and helicopter shots have captured the students as they've spelled out phrases such as, "Go Ducks," "Here We Come" and "Ducks Fly Together."
"I think it's really cool how we can support the Ducks and help them as they start the playoffs," said Hermosa Drive sixth grader, Ryan Lee, who added, "Go Ducks! Win the Stanley Cup!"
Ryan and his classmates at Hermosa Drive were joined by the Fullerton Fire Department and the Fullerton Police Department last week as they began their Paint It Orange campaign by posing for a number of aerial photos and videos spelling out "Take Flight As One" next to their street hockey rink, a campus upgrade provided to the school a couple of years ago through the Anaheim Ducks Power PLAY! Project.
Ryan is one of many students at Hermosa Drive who received his first exposure to hockey as a fourth grader through the Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Street Hockey Program. He enjoyed the street hockey experience so much that he's now in his second year playing roller hockey for Hermosa Drive in the Anaheim Ducks i3 Roller Hockey League.
"I like hockey because it's a really fast moving sport," Ryan said. "I like how you can use all of your energy in one shift."
Ryan's classmate and i3 Roller Hockey League teammate, sixth grader Maddie McLeran, also found a love for hockey through playing street hockey for Hermosa Drive in fourth grade. Now she's a member of the school's Junior Varsity-A roller hockey team and is enjoying every minute.
"Hockey really grabbed my attention because it's an active sport," Maddie said. "You can have fun, play and work as a team."
And this is her favorite time of year, as she and the nearly 500 students at Hermosa Drive are in their third season participating in the Paint It Orange playoff campaign.
"I think it's really a cool thing that our school can do this for the Ducks," Maddie said. "It's a lot of fun."
For schools like Hermosa Drive who have been long-time participants in the S.C.O.R.E. Program's education and physical fitness initiatives, joining in the Paint It Orange campaign during the playoffs is an extension of a year-round commitment the schools have with the Ducks organization.
"It's a really big community event," said Danielle Ramirez, principal at Hermosa Drive. "The teachers are totally into it. We decorate all of our doors and windows. Families know all about it, and they get into it too. But it's not just about wearing the t-shirts. It's everything we do throughout the year. The Ducks are in our corner all of the time, and our partnership with them means the world to us."
Alison Garcia, a former teacher at Hermosa Drive Elementary who helped start the street hockey program at the school, currently coaches the street hockey teams at both Hermosa Drive and Beechwood, as well as Hermosa Drive's two i3 Roller Hockey League teams. As an organizer of the Paint It Orange events at both Hermosa Drive and Beechwood, the opportunity to be a part of the Ducks playoff campaign is a way to say thank you to the club for their commitment to local schools, educators and students.
"I love what the Ducks do for our kids, so we're excited to organize something to pay back to them and thank them for what they do," Garcia said. "This is a great way to send off our Anaheim Ducks players to the Stanley Cup Playoffs."
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For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit ducksscore.com.