Servis Addresses Philly School Children on 'Smarty Jones Day'

Trainer John Servis was the guest speaker and the theme was "Achieving in Spite of Adversity" as Faust Elementary School in Bensalem, Pa., located across the street from Philadelphia Park, celebrated "Smarty Jones Day" in high style.

Outside, blue and white rosettes adorned the brick building, along with a big banner which read, "Kentucky Derby...Won. Preakness Stakes...Won. Belmont Stakes...One to Go. Go Smarty!" Înside, countless pictures and drawings of Smarty Jones by the children hung in the hallways. The children, from kindergarten to fifth grade, dressed in blue and white for the occasion, while the auditorium where Servis spoke to them had a Smarty Jones theme.

"Hats Off to Mr. Servis!" read a big blue sign along one wall. "A Star is Born in Bensalem" was printed on a long white banner that was draped across the stage.

The children first watched a video of Smarty Jones taken by teacher Diane Bridi at Philadelphia Park, and then Servis stepped up to the microphone amid thunderous applause and cheers.

"Smarty Jones knows you guys love him," said Servis. "Keep it going. Keep rooting for him.

"I was fortunate because at a young age, I knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to become a horse trainer, but my father told me how hard it was. Hard work, dedication and honesty are three important things to succeed in life, but you need an education to fall back on. One day, you might be handed a gift like I've gotten in Smarty Jones."

Also in attendance were Joe DiGirolamo, mayor of Bensalem, and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, whose district includes Philadelphia Park. Tomlinson is one of the authors of slot machine legislation currently pending in Harrisburg.

Each class stood and did their own Smarty Jones "cheer," which Servis applauded. Before he left, the school presented him with several gifts: a giant horseshoe with a picture of Smarty in the middle, signed by all the children, and two huge baskets of carrots for Smarty.

"If I can speak to a whole school and make a difference with just one kid, it would make me really happy," Servis said.