MINNEAPOLIS - Lucy Craft Laney Elementary in North Minneapolis knows a thing or two about working as a team and fighting against the odds.
It's why days before Super Bowl 52, the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee recognized Principal Mauri Friestleben as an MVP in the community by surprising her with tickets to the big game.
Assistant Principal Lisa Pawelak hatched a plan, along with social worker Sarah Olson. They recruited student council leaders to come up with a way to surprise their principal.
Together, fourth graders decided to lure Principal Friestleben from a meeting by having other staff members radio her on a walkie-talkie, asking for help for a student in crisis.
Once Friestleben rushed upstairs, thinking a student was facing an emergency, she opened an office door to be greeted by a chorus of cheers and confetti.
"You are going to the Super Bowl," the students shouted in unison, holding up signs, and erupting in applause.
Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee Vice President, Dana Nelson, presented Friestleben with the surprise ticket.
"Thanks for loving these kids up, you do a great job here at Lucy Laney, on behalf of the Vikings and NFL and Super Bowl Host Committee," said Nelson.
The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is spending this week surprising several inspirational community leaders with free Super Bowl tickets.
"Really from the bottom of our heart, the Super Bowl Host Committee, NFL and Vikings, you epitomize what Lucy Laney stood for and people need to know her history," said Kevin Warren, Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings. "You epitomize what Minnesotans stand for, and we want to tell you we love you and appreciate you, and thank you for all you have done and continue to do."
Friestleben was admittedly speechless.
"I couldn't figure out what was happening at first. I don't know what to do if I'm at the center, I feel exposed and vulnerable. So, when you do get a gift like today, you aren't sure what to do with that? That is not what you expect," said Friestleben. "Educators, the people that take care of your children, are some of the most selfless people and I am not the only one. This is what we do, we do this every day."