Cincinnati Bengals’ Kevin Zeitler visits NBW

Liz Liska, Editor in Chief

It is not very often that a famous person makes their way to New Berlin. It is even less common that they make their way on over to our schools. But after the Special Olympics fundraiser, the odds were beat. As a reward for the school who raised the most amount of money, Wisconsin grown NFL guard for the Cincinnati Bengals, Kevin Zeitler, served lunch to the winning school.

For the month of February, both New Berlin West and New Berlin Eisenhower raised money for the Polar Plunge, donating to the Special Olympics. Together, we raised $9,000. Although Eisenhower raised more money, Zeitler made an extra visit to the New Berlin West Foundations classroom. Here, he talked to the students and answered questions about his football career. Pictures were also taken.

Sophomore, Levi Ormeroid, a long time Bengals supporter and fan of Zeitler, wore his jersey for the occasion.

When asked how it feels to know that people look up to him, Zeitler stated, “It’s very humbling.”

Zeitler began his career as a high school player out of Waukesha at Wisconsin Lutheran High School. As he started out, he didn’t think he would make it to the NFL. “I really wanted to,” he stated. “I trained like crazy.”

Zeitler said he found his home in athletics and worked hard to be the best athlete he could be. It worked: he made it big. The best part: traveling to schools.

Zeitler spent the day at Eisenhower’s lunches visiting the students there. Afterwards, he joined the Special Education program at Eisenhower for a pizza party and hung out with the students. Then, he came to West to see the Foundations program here.

“I like that he could have just wrote a check and went on with his day,” Amanda Kohnke, a teacher in Foundations stated. “But he came in and got to know our students and answered all of their questions.”

Here, students had the opportunity to meet him as well as flex their muscles by his side.

“It made their day,” both Kohnke and Betsy Weins, another teacher in Foundations, agreed.

This is not the first time that Zeitler, the brother-in-law to New Berlin West Spanish teacher Jim Braun, has visited kids that looked up to him.  While at a hotel, his father-in-law, Jim Braun Sr., met a young boy in the lobby. His name was Connor Lafferty. He suffered from Spina Bifida, a disease in which the backbone and spinal column don’t completely close up.  Braun asked the family if they were football fans- they said yes. Braun told them that if they would wait a few minutes, he could go get a Bengal player from upstairs.

Zeitler came to meet Lafferty and also gave him a pair of signed cleats he had worn in tryouts.

“Connor’s classmates didn’t believe that he had a friend in the NFL,” Clifford Rotenberry, Latterty’s grandfather, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

After their meeting, Zeitler bought the family tickets for the game and took them to a spot where they could meet the whole team afterwards. Here, they took pictures and gave autographs.

When asked what it was like to be able to make someone’s day, Zeitler stated, “It’s very humbling…to be able to do that with a single handshake.”

As the Foundations room will agree, the Cinncinati Bengals earned more than a couple fans.