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Kuemmel's Corner: Lunch with the Wolfpack

On each Friday, I take a group of selected athletes (seniors, captains, etc.) from a particular sport to an elementary school to have lunch with some younger students. We go to the elementary schools that feed into Park at least once each season.

I got the idea from a friend who used to be the athletic director at Henry Sibley. One of my goals for this year is to try to get our student-athletes a little more exposure.

This opportunity makes our student-athletes feel more like role-models to the younger students, and also helps publicize our sports and maybe even put more people in the stands. The high school players feel like professional athletes when the elementary-aged students ask for their autographs.

The students wear their team gear and help promote Park activities. Both the Park and the elementary students really seem to enjoy the experience.

The Park students also help out in the classroom before we eat lunch. In the past, we have been part of a weekly trivia game, made Abraham Lincoln pictures, roller skated in phy ed class, read to the students, did yoga, and even took spelling tests with the elementary students.

The elementary teachers have done a great job of incorporating the extra helpers into their lesson plans. I was really amazed when one fifth grade class sang the Wolfpack school song for us as we entered their room!

Some of our varsity coaches teach at the elementary schools, and those coaches have been able to have athletes from their teams come into their classrooms. In each classroom we visit, I always try to stress three things to the younger students: the importance of getting good grades, eating healthy, and being involved in a variety of activities.

I think the part the high school students enjoy the most is recess. The elementary students are just amazed at how far our soccer players can kick a kickball! I also must admit it is one of my favorite parts of my work week.

Thanks to the Park student-athletes for doing such a good job with the younger kids, and thank you to the elementary teachers for having us. If you have elementary aged-students, make sure you ask them if they have had a chance to have Lunch with the Wolfpack.