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Falcons reward students with room makeover
Room WEB 1
Chestee Elementary fifth-grader Josh Grindle is surprised Tuesday when he comes home to Atlanta Falcons player Michael Turner, right, and Rooms to Go representative Warren Kornblum. Grindle received a free room makeover. - photo by Photos by Autumn Vetter

Josh Grindle didn’t know what to think when his mother, Lori, picked him up early from school Tuesday.

The Chestatee Elementary fifth-grader soon got a big surprise at his North Forsyth home.

He was greeted by Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders and his favorite player, running back Michael Turner.

As if that wasn’t enough, he also soon learned that his bedroom had been completely made over.

He was speechless when Turner and Rooms to Go representatives welcomed him into the new-look room, which was decked out in Falcons furniture and decorations.

"I thought it was pretty awesome," he said of the experience. "I was ecstatic because I didn’t think my room would like what it did and it’s really cool."

Josh was nominated for the room makeover and visit by his P.E. teacher, Amanda Grier.

She said she couldn’t think of a more deserving student.

"He flies under the radar because he’s really quiet, but he always tries to do his best," she said. "In P.E. class, he does stand out because he works so hard, but he does it quietly ... I do foresee a long career in athletics for him because he’s extremely dedicated to that and the whole family is."

In her nomination, Grier wrote of Josh’s dedication to maintain good grades while also participating in many activities, such as a football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse.

"He takes great pride in his physical conditioning and though he battles asthma, he never complains about running and/or other active tasks in P.E. class," she wrote. "Though he is extremely competitive, he is also soft, kind and shy."

Also chosen for a Falcons visit and room makeover was Flowery Branch Elementary School fifth-grader Gabriel Bremer.

Flowery Branch Elementary’s media specialist Karen Hickey nominated Gabriel for the makeover.

"Gabriel is a wonderful boy and truly deserving of this award. We are so proud of him," Hickey said.

"Gabriel’s teacher Janice Carlan and myself, were on hand to surprise him with a complete bedroom makeover."

In addition to the makeover, Gabriel was given an autographed hat, jersey and football signed by Turner. The family was given tickets to attend a Falcons game, during which Gabriel will be presented on the field during halftime.

The makeover also will be featured during "Falcons Game Day Live" on CBS Atlanta to be aired Dec. 16.

Warren Kornblum, chief strategy officer for Rooms to Go, said the company has been working with the Atlanta Falcons to provide deserving students with the room makeovers for three years.

Through the partnership, he said, several students throughout the greater Atlanta area are selected each football season for the honor.

"For each home game, we just sort of work with the Falcons community relations people to identify really deserving kids in the community and give them a special day," he said.

"The thought is we want to identify kids who are outstanding and just acknowledge them and say, ‘Good things happen to good people.’"

Turner has been helping with the partnership all three years.

"I get a kick out of doing these sorts of things," he said. "All the families are different and unique. They all have different reactions, so it’s pretty fun and cool."

As a bonus, Josh’s older sister, Morgan, also got a room makeover.

"I was very surprised," she said. "I knew something was up, but I never expected something like this."

In addition to Josh and Gabriel, Erikson Sieber, a sixth-grader at Riverview Middle School in Dawson County, was also surprised with a room makeover.

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