TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Breakfast with Spartans more than story time to students

-
-
-
-
-
-

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:02 p.m.
 

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 shacke@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Coonelly: McCutchen’s struggles not related to bouts of left knee inflammation
  2. South Park Oval receives makeover; more county park improvements coming
  3. Butler Area board approves consolidation; 5 schools to close
  4. Franklin Regional, Syracuse grad to get NFL shot with New Orleans
  5. Pittsburgh Fringe Festival focuses on what’s new in theater
  6. Steelers’ fourth-round pick Grant relies on smarts to get job done
  7. Pirates notebook: Lombardozzi gets called up; Lambo hits DL
  8. PAC baseball tournament is anyone’s game
  9. EDMC to close quarter of its Art Institute campuses, but Pittsburgh’s spared
  10. Gorman: Last hero of a lost rivalry
  11. Police investigate report that Baldwin-Whitehall teacher struck student