Breakfast with Spartans more than story time to students
He gripped the book in his hands, slowly and carefully reading each word aloud.
Brentwood High School senior John “Ralphie” Schmitt, 18, admitted he was “a little nervous” as he read a spooky tale to a room full of sixth-graders. After all, the standout football player said he didn't want to mess up in front of the youngsters, who admire him.
“Most of these kids look up to older kids,” said Schmitt, an offensive/defensive lineman on the Spartan varsity football team.
Schmitt and junior running back/safety Justin Vickless, 16, donning their varsity football jerseys, spent last Friday morning reading ghost stories to many of Brentwood's 86 sixth-graders in a new program, “Breakfast with the Spartans,” which was started by middle school reading and social studies teacher and varsity quarterback coach Casey Phillips.
Once a month, various high school athletes and cheerleaders visit the sixth-grade reading classes at Brentwood Middle School, where they interact with the younger students and serve as role models, Phillips said.
And as they munch on their mini-doughnuts the younger student have the chance to ask questions of their older peers. Many want to know about plays and tricks from the field, but there also are questions about life and learning.
With the middle and high schools operating from one building, Phillips said, he always is looking for ways to have both age groups interact in an effort to “build positive relationships” between the students.
“Middle school is a tough age for some kids,” Phillips said. “A lot of these kids aspire to be like a Justin Vickless.”
The program also shows the younger students the importance of education, as portrayed through the high school athletes.
“Not only are they very accomplished athletes, but they're also very good students,” Phillips said. “We try to have well-rounded people on our football field.”
And if that's the message the high school athletes want to share with their younger counterparts:
“Do your homework,” Vickless said.
“School before anything else,” Schmitt added.
Having role models in their school building is important for the sixth-graders, they said.
“They're amazing,” said Brandon Griener, 11, of the older athletes, as he sported his blue-and-gold 11-year-old Brentwood Dukes uniform. “We need to learn off of these guys.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.