NWC Men Continue Community Outreach
Kindergarten students at Parkside Elementary received a special treat last week, as the Northwest College men’s soccer team stopped by to introduce themselves and participate in story time.
The Trappers entertained the throng of would-be soccer fans by pairing off with a few kids each from Kaylyn Ramsey and Jennifer Rohrer’s classrooms, reading from their favorite books while sharing a little about themselves on Thursday, Sept. 21.
“Our kids could not stop talking about it for at least two or three days,” said Ramsey. “They kept wanting the boys to come back, they were so excited.”
“And I was really excited,” Ramsey added, “because I think it’s such a great opportunity for Powell to build a sense of community between the college and the elementary school.”
Ramsey and Rohrer said the opportunity to meet the student athletes gives the kids role models to look up to and encourages them to chase their dreams.
“It shows them that, ‘Hey, if you like soccer, you can someday grow up to play for the college, just like these boys are,’” Ramsey said.
The school has worked out a deal with the team that two players will return to Parkside every Tuesday for the kindergartners to read their workbooks to.
“It’s gets boring reading to your teacher all the time,” Ramsey said. “They [the Trappers] truly are like local celebrities. The kids thought they were famous, so cool. It’s a really good partnership. We’re lucky to have the Rodrigues family in our schools to set this up for us.”
For Trappers head coach Stan Rodrigues — whose son Zion is a member of Ramsey’s class — it’s a way for his team to stay active in their adopted community.
“Doing things like that, it’s really for the community, and for us as well,” Rodrigues said. “We always try to give back to where we came from. We were all very excited about it, as well as I think the kindergartners were.”
Little things like visiting the kids sends a message to the community that NWC athletic teams are willing to come out and interact with residents outside the campus, according to Rodrigues.
“We want to show them there’s more than education and athletics at NWC, and we’re just right down the street,” Rodrigues said.
The coach said he’d like to see the visits expand to other schools as well.
“We started with Parkside mainly because my son is in the class, as is [NWC volleyball coach] Shaun Pohlman’s son,” Rodrigues explained. “We have quite a few community connections there. That said, we’re willing to do other schools; we’ll probably end up talking to Westside Elementary here in a little bit. We’d also like to do something at the middle school.”
It’s important for athletes at all levels to be good role models, Rodrigues said, and it’s equally important to be willing to give back to those that support you.
“We want people to know Northwest cares,” he said. “Sports and academics go hand-in-hand. We care about the community, and we appreciate it when they support us, as well as us supporting them.”
Reading to the kindergartners served a dual purpose to a few of the international players, as they were able to practice their English. Rodrigues returned to Parkside the following day to have lunch with his son, and said the visit was all the kids could talk about.
“All the kids were just glowing, wanting to know when the ‘soccer boys’ were coming back,” Rodrigues said. “It’s just so much bigger than the sport.”
“The kids are just ecstatic,” she said. “They think it’s the coolest thing in the world. We even had lots of parents writing me emails wanting to know more about what happened that day. We’re just really excited about this.”