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Mamie Martin hosts Saints reciever

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Robert Meachem signs Keyshawn Ferdinand’s shirt while visiting his first grade class at Mamie Martin Elementary.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Robert Meachem signs Keyshawn Ferdinand’s shirt while visiting his first grade class at Mamie Martin Elementary.

Mamie Martin Elementary School got a black and gold makeover in preparation for a visit from New Orleans Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem.

The school full of beaming six- and seven-year-olds and even brighter beaming teachers welcomed the football player and representatives from the Follow Your Dreams Foundation, which he founded in New Orleans.

Upon arrival to Mamie Martin, Meachem made his way through the halls visiting classes led by Principal Rob McCreary. The last classroom he stopped in was draped in black and gold from its walls to its inhabitants. Students and teacher alike were dressed in their personal Saints garb with one student even sporting a shirt made by his mother. This classroom belonged to first grade teacher Judy Boggan.

“She’s probably the number one fan in the world,” Boggan’s teacher’s assistant, Katie Bowman, said. “I don’t think it gets any bigger than her.”

After signing multiple t-shirts, pictures, sheets of paper, a hat and a ribbon, Meachem stood at the front of the class to take questions from his sea of first-grade fans. With questions like “Who’s your best friend on the team?” and “How do you keep fit?” the atmosphere stayed light and filled with laughter. Laughter that only got louder as Meachem was invited to toss a football around with students in the room. Even Boggan joined in on the impromptu game of catch.

Before leaving the classroom, Boggan and her class presented Meachem with a basket of Brookhaven Panther goodies, which included a box of iced cookies from Janie’s Pastries. The cookies prompted a conversation that quickly led to the bakery’s famous chicken-on-a-sticks and soon the visitors were calling in a lunch order at Janie’s.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Meacham tosses a football with students in Judy Boggan’s first grade class. Students seemed to enjoy the chance to play catch inside.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Meacham tosses a football with students in Judy Boggan’s first grade class. Students seemed to enjoy the chance to play catch inside.

When the action had died down there, Meachem walked to the cafeteria to speak to some of the other students. He was greeted with a stage decorated in black parchment paper and gold glittery lettering. Behind a microphone wrapped in gold tinsel, he told the children present “don’t ever let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams.”

Nicole Coleman, a representative from the foundation who was present at the school said Brookhaven was the first stop on the beginning of a lot of school talks. The foundation focuses on childhood literacy and childhood obesity prevention.

“It’s always important to give back,” Meachem said about visiting schools with the foundation. “If you don’t talk to the children, who will?”

For more information about Robert Meachem and the Follow Your Dreams Foundation, visit robertmeachem17.com.

Coleman shared the foundation is planning a fundraising gala Apr. 17 at the Metro Generation Hall in New Orleans. There the foundation will give out 17 scholarships to high school-ers from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. School counselors, teachers, parents and students are encouraged to visit the foundation’s website to find out more about the scholarship’s requirements and deadlines.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Meachem squats to sign the back of Aidan Dykes’s jersey. Students and parents lined up to get shirts, jerseys and even hats signed.

DAILY LEADER / NATHANIEL WEATHERSBY / Meachem squats to sign the back of Aidan Dykes’s jersey. Students and parents lined up to get shirts, jerseys and even hats signed.