Serving aces, scoring baskets, and crossing the finish line first certainly have their merits. Just ask the many Mansfield Lady Tiger athletes that have donned a school uniform this year, how the cravings of competition bring out their best.
However, it’s not always about the game, or being the best when other life challenges come into view. So recently, the focus of a few select athletes, at least for a little while, changed as a group of Mansfield players took on a completely new task.
Coach and teacher, John Mackey, who oversees a small collection of female athletes during an advisory period in the school day, most recently encouraged his athletes to do something for the next generation of Tigers.
The project asked student-athletes to create and construct an educational booklet for younger students. The target audience was kindergarten kids up to second grade students. The content of the book was to be a topic that encouraged kids to learn through reading.
The student authors teamed together in groups of three to four. They reviewed previously published works for children. They brainstormed about educational experiences from their own background to find a specific objective to which they wanted to write.
Finally, the high school students took to the computer lab to research and develop their miniature manuscripts. Through the miracle of power point, the teams designed the cover and content pages with reading level text and color filled art.
The project took approximately two weeks. During that time, the varied groups created works ranging in topics such items as animal sounds, colors of the rainbow, and counting creatures under the sea.
“We have a few seniors that are already thinking about becoming elementary teachers,” said Mackey. “This experience gets them moving along those lines. Moreover, it also encourages them to think about their own families, brothers and sisters, and the importance of reading at an early age.”
The advisor who also coaches both boys and girls track at Mansfield continued.
“To play sports at our high school level a specific grade point average must be achieved. Getting kids to read at an early age will only enhance that academic success. We just thought books would be a fun way to encourage the next generation of Tigers.”
The volunteer assignment the athletes created stemmed from a new micro-class that Mansfield High School included into their academic day this school year.
For 20 minutes each afternoon, all ninth through twelfth grade students attend an advisory period. It is there, that extra academic help, reading time, social skills, helpful life lessons, and club meetings can be incorporated into the school fabric.
Some of the eclectic items covered so far this year in some advisory groups have included such things as letter writing, thank you notes, car maintenance, veterans day dialog, September 11 remembrances, necktie knots, social etiquette, song writing, art and talent displays, and rock-paper-scissors strategy.