MONTVILLE, NJ – Retired NFL running back Tiki Barber visited Jenna Mordaga’s first-grade students at William Mason Elementary School on Jan. 10 as Superstar of the Week Michael Ciullo’s surprise guest.
Cristina Ciullo, Michael’s mother, said she and her husband asked Michael if there was anything special that he would like them to do when they came in to visit during his Superstar Week. Michael responded that he would like to have a football player come to visit the class. Michael’s father, who has a business relationship with Barber, whom he has known for years, coordinated with Barber to come to the classroom to surprise Michael and provide a short inspirational talk to the class.
“It was so special,” Ciullo said.
Barber, who played for the New York Giants from 1997 to 2006, spoke about commitment, dedication, hard work, fitness and fun.
“Along with celebrating Michael being Superstar, Tiki taught the students to always follow their dreams and to stay motivated in everything they do,” said Mordaga. Barber also signed mini-footballs for each of Michael’s classmates. “It was very considerate for the Ciullo family to get each student a football for Tiki to sign,” Mordaga said.