This is my favorite day of the entire year! We are fortunate to have MANY great days at McKale Center, but none are as AWESOME as the day Fifth graders from Tucson's best elementary school visit McKale each May.
Soleng Tom Elementary school is located on the east side of Tucson (my neighborhood) and is one of Tucson's best schools every year. I have had the honor of being on their School Site Council for the past 2 years. For the past number of years, they have allowed me to visit their school in the fall and talk to them about leadership, and being a good team member. Then the following May, twelve of their top fifth graders are chosen to come spend a few hours with me at McKale. It is a GREAT experience, and believe me, I get more out of this event than they do!!!!!
Longtime friend, Martha Damek, is their school counselor and she is the individual who came up with the idea years ago. I grew up in Dayton Texas with her and her husband Keith (who helps with the home football team lockeroom in the fall). She does an outstanding job with Soleng Tom students. Today she came with her new principal, fellow teacher and parent and twelve kids to visit McKale.
I took pictures of some of the activities we did today at McKale. The group was able to walk out on the baseball field and football field. They then went to the new Richard Jefferson Gymnasium to shoot some baskets in our new practice facility. After that they toured the football area, and got to meet new assistant basketball coach James Whitford. After seeing the new floor design on the court, they went into the weightroom after meeting Coach Edmond. Along the way, we had to walk through the Academic center where they met many of our athletes and even had a group picture with some of our football players. They peeked in our many of our student athletes working in the Academic computer lab.
One the very coolest parts in my opinion was when Blair Willis of Media Relations opened up the press conference room and each student got a picture behind the microphone and in front of the Arizona Athletics banner behind. The parents and teachers seemed to like it alot too!
Along the way to the HIGHLIGHT of the tour (equipment room), they were able to meet Dr. Porter, our team physician and new football coach Seth Litrell. Again, they also saw many of our athletes in the hallways.
Then, they spent some time in the equipment room trying on basketball uniforms, football uniforms, over sized shoes and much more. Tim treated them to a t-shirt and helmet stickers. They also loved the eye black stickers he gave them. Then Benny took them into the Men's basketball locker room.
The last portion of their tour was seeing the Hall of Champions. They seemed to like that more than I thought they would. There, they were able to pick up many posters of our teams. From there they went over to the Student Union for lunch.
As I said earlier, I get so much more out of the visit than they do. I realize they just like field trips and they would love a tour of anything. These are GREAT kids from a GREAT school and it is so refreshing to see the leaders of tomorrow take in all that they see. It also allows me to see just how fortunate I am to work at a place like McKale. It reminds me of how great our facilities are, and what FIRST CLASS student athletes, coaches, and staff members we have. Each of the student athletes, coaches or staff members that saw us walk by came up to the kids to meet them and ask them why they were there. Each of them treated our guest with CLASS!!!
I am already looking forward to next years visit!!!!!!