As the 2016-17 school year gets underway, the Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball team took time away from their studies and basketball workouts to volunteer Tuesday afternoon at the Newport Primary School.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our guys to impact young people,” stated John Brannen, NKU men’s basketball head coach. “One of our core values is sacrifice. Being able to take the platform that we have as men’s basketball players and members in this community to impact young people is where it starts for us.”
Members of the team spent time in first and second grade classrooms, where they helped with everything from reading and writing to math, music and physical education. The student-athletes were also asked to talk to the Newport students about hard work.
“It’s very important for our students to see that hard work will get you somewhere,” said Josh Snapp, Newport Primary School Principal. “The student-athletes spoke to our students about the value of hard work and that hard work can take you places you’ve never experienced. Newport is the world to our students and they need to understand the world is larger than Newport. It takes a village to raise a child and it was great to have the NKU men’s basketball team help with that today.”
Snapp continued, “I also feel the men’s basketball players gained from volunteering with our students. In working with the first and second graders they can see that this is where they came from, which helps to put all of their hard work and success into perspective.”
Redshirt sophomore Jeff Garrett spent time working one-on-one with students on some of their math skills, but it was the ability to see the larger picture that resonated with Garrett.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Garrett. “It took me back to the days when I was in school sitting in those seats and someone would come in and help me with my math, drawing or just have a conversation with me.”
Sophomore Brandon Maxwell joined one session of music, where he helped students learn the Star Spangled Banner. Sophomore Brennan Gills, freshmen Mason Faulkner and Carson Williams and Coach Brannen assisted students with a variety of exercises during gym class, including rock climbing, balance beam and medicine ball toss.
However, freshman Blake Spellman stole the show when he broke out his dancing skills to a song about counting to 100.
“It was amazing just to be able to bring a smile to the kids’ faces,” said Spellman. “Being able to be there, talk to them, draw with them and interact with them was just amazing.”
NKU men’s basketball has a rich tradition of community service. Last year, the team amassed just shy of 200 hours helping out in the community.
From NKU Athletic Communications