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Washington Middle School pupil Kyle Novak is shown with Fredbird and retired Cardinal pitcher Andy Benes during the Cardinal School Program.

Retired Cardinal, Fredbird visit school

The Washington Middle School gymnasium recently looked like the setting for Cardinal baseball spring training.

Andy Benes, retired pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, was "doing it right" by bringing a message to sixth-grade pupils about staying in school, saying no to drugs and participating in sports.

Pupils were dressed in a sea of red for the occasion, according to a Mehlville School District news release.

Fredbird assisted Benes in showing the pupils a video of Cardinal players talking about the importance of "doing it right" by following the Cardinal School Program.

Sixth-grade pupils joined in the fun by sharing their thoughts and ideas on the three important goals.

Cardinal hats, pennants, baseballs and bats were given to pupils by Fredbird and Benes for participating during the program.

Pupils also had a chance to receive a voucher for a Cardinal baseball ticket if they turned in a pledge signed by a parent, teacher and another adult saying they would follow the three key messages.

Sixth-grade teacher Phyllis Siegel teacher put in a request for the Cardinal School Program last year. As part of the program, the sixth-grade pupils were asked ahead of time to write an essay on why they don't have to do drugs.

A team of teachers from each literature and composition class chose the best essays and those pupils were recognized at the end of the program.

Sixth-grader Chelsea Westermayer wrote in her winning essay, "All of these things can lead to a positive and healthy lifestyle. Without having these good qualities, you will never get anywhere in life. You only live once so I'm going to make the most of it while I still can."

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