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Phillies fever present at local school

Phillies fever present at local school

WYNDMOOR, Pa. -- None of the 100-or-so children gathered in the gymnasium at Fountain of Life Christian Academy had any idea that the Phillie Phanatic was in the building Friday morning.

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So imagine, then, the pandemonium coursing through the crowd of kids when all 6 feet, 6 inches of the massive green monster burst through the gymnasium doors at just about 8:45 a.m. ET

Every one of the students -- ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade -- rose to their feet, letting out surprised cheers along the way. They immediately formed a crowd around the Phillies' mascot to jump up and down and receive high-fives. Even the school's administrators got into it, chanting "We will, we will rock you" and "Let's go Phillies, let's go" into a microphone.

It's safe to say that this school is excited for the Phillies' first trip to the World Series since 1993.

Most of the youngsters at Fountain of Life weren't even born yet when Lenny Dykstra, Darren Daulton and John Kruk took this city by storm in the early '90s. Rather, the Phillies they have come to know and love are Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Students, parents and teachers were all decked out in red and white for Friday morning's World Series rally, and many sported jerseys bearing the names of Rollins, Utley and Howard.

But it was Howard's name that received the biggest cheer from the crowd when one of the Phillies' ball girls mentioned the power-hitting first baseman.

"He hits a lot of home runs," fourth-grader Imani Byers explained.

Eighth-grader Chris Rone said he couldn't wait to watch his favorite first baseman take on either Tampa Bay or Boston when the Series opens Wednesday night. Rone is primarily a football player, but he made sure to point out that he wears the No. 6 on the back of his jersey -- just like Howard.

"He has my number," Rone said proudly.

Baseball has been an ever-present theme at the academy since its opening this year. The faculty and staff at the school are known as "All-Stars." The school's president is referred to as the "captain." Any memorandum that is sent bears the phrase "from the clubhouse."

It seemed appropriate on Friday morning, with the city's passion for baseball reaching its highest point in years. The school's chief operations officer, Allenda Harris, looked at the crowd of students and smiled.

"They're very, very excited about the Phillies," she said.

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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