The Dallas Mavericks donated 30 pairs of Nike tennis shoes to students at the School for the Talented and Gifted (STAG) in Pleasant Grove on Wednesday afternoon as part of the MAVS FIT initiative, courtesy of Ford, which encourages MFFLs of all ages to be active, eat healthily and play together.

Dallas ISD launched STAG in the fall of 2018 as the first of its kind in Texas, offering the chance for students to read, write and speak in two languages.

Middle school students take a transformational journey through the program to become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural high-achieving academic scholars.

The school also heavily emphasizes physical exercise and activities, along with other health and wellness programs.

School administrators said the students chosen for the MAVS FIT program were selected based on academic achievements and other needs.

“We went by grade level, and we allowed them to pick 10 students who needed new shoes or an after-school activity,” said honors social studies teacher Julian Beltran. “We are big on promoting clubs and fitness at our school. So if someone hasn’t participated in one of our clubs, we wanted them to participate today. We also selected students who have made progress and advancements in their goals. It was a variety of choices.”

When the students arrived, they quietly sat on the gym floor and waited for their names to be announced.

Then they enthusiastically opened their Nike boxes and put on their new shoes.

“I noticed when they got their shoes, they were timid and just holding the box,” Beltran said. “I told them to open the box, and they just looked around, and I said, ‘Yes, those are yours.’ The looks on their faces, they were in awe. Now seeing them all wearing the shoes and looking at their faces, you can tell they’re really excited.”

After receiving their new kicks, all the students participated in a MAVS FIT clinic hosted by the Mavs Academy. The D-Town Crew and ManiAACs also attended, along with Mavs Mascot Champ.

D-Town dancer Emily Winkle just completed her rookie season with the Dallas Mavericks. She said it was an honor to come and meet the students and represent their hometown NBA franchise.

Fitness is essential to her, and she was thrilled to participate in the clinic.

“Today we’re celebrating MAVS FIT, and one way I like to stay healthy is through dancing. It’s my passion,” Winkle said. “Taking dance classes is a major way that I stay in shape. I also like to get outside and go for a run. It makes me feel good, clears my head, and [allows] me to get some sunshine.”

For a healthy lifestyle, MAVS FIT encourages these eight steps: 
  1. Eat a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables.
  2. Drink water.
  3. Limit screen time.
  4. Listen to your body.
  5. Be active & exercise.
  6. Use balance / moderation.
  7. Build a support group.
  8. Get plenty of sleep.

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