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Paul George Surprises Third Grade Students at Local Elementary School

by Scott Agness | @ScottAgness

March 3, 2014

It was late in the day on Monday at Glenns Valley Elementary School when Zach Archer’s third grade class received a special treat.

Into the school and through the doors of his classroom came the 6-foot-9 Paul George of the Pacers carrying Papa John’s Pizza. Archer earned a visit from the face of the Pacers after he sold the most tickets in the inaugural Pacers School Fundraising Program, which 100 local schools participated in.

“I came to see Zach,” said George, who took time out of his busy NBA schedule to spend a couple hours at the school. “Zach’s an amazing kid, an amazing student, and (top) seller. This is a great kid right here.”

Photo Gallery: PG Surprises Elementary School »

While the average student sells just eight tickets, Archer received help from his family to go above and beyond to sell a total of 256. A portion of the tickets sold went back to each school — over $190,000 in total — and Glenns Valley, a Perry Township School, already has initial plans to spend their $6,000 share.

Zach, his sister Gavin, and his parents all witnessed the Pacers’ win over Milwaukee last Thursday. The top seller (minimum 30 tickets) at each school not only got to be included in the Riley Pregame Ball Exchange, but also had four seats upgraded to suite tickets.

The 9-year-old’s parents did a great job of keeping the news that Archer was the top seller and that George would be visiting a secret. When George arrived, Archer said he lost the blood in his legs, as he was thrilled to see his idol.

“He came out of nowhere, like he was a Ninja,” said Zach Archer, who’s big personality immediately stood out. “I thought he came from the sky.”

He joked afterwards with George that one day he’ll face him in the All-Star 3-point contest, and that after his performance in selling tickets he shouldn’t have to sit at a desk any longer. Archer wants a throne.

“I’m not the class clown,” he said. “I’m the class comedian.”

The third grader felt like the big man at his school, and was proud to be responsible for Paul George visiting and hanging out with his peers.

After spending a half-hour in Archer’s class serving pizza, signing autographs and answering questions, George moved to the auditorium, where the entire school was surprised and then entertained by the NBA player.

The screams echoed in the gym when the two-time All-Star walked in wearing a black sweat suit. A few minutes later, Chris Denari, the television voice of the Pacers, went around with the microphone so that a handful of students of all grades could pose a question to George.

A sample of the questions asked:

Q: Will you come to my birthday party?

Q: Are you married?
A: "No."

Q: Do you have a maid?
A: "Yeah."

Q: Has LeBron ever dunked on you?”
A: "A big fat ‘No’.”

Q: How many trophies have you won?"
A: “I’m working on my first big trophy. Hopefully we can win a big trophy this year,” he answered, referring to the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the NBA Champions.

When Denari asked Archer what he thought of George’s game, he replied, “Better than LeBron [James], that’s for sure.”

George, a tight family man, spoke to the role they continue to play in his life and also how he works everyday to get better. He also emphasized the importance of taking care of your schoolwork, eating healthy and being positive.

Before taking off, George and about eight others played a game of knockout in front of the entire school. George won, of course.

“The second I got here, I saw this guy and I forgot all about my back,” he said. “It’s guys like these that make me feel great with what I do and happy to be a part to come here. Being in a classroom just made me remember being in elementary [school] and how fun that used to be. Guys were in there coloring, and it was just so easy then.”

The program was a success, kids at Glenns Valley Elementary School got to meet one of Indianapolis’ sports icons, and Zach Archer had an experience of a lifetime.

“I’m never going to forget this day,” he said with a beaming smile.

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