Thursday, September 26, 2013
A new football tradition is catching on at Stratford High School, and it has nothing to do with scoring touchdowns.
“High-Five Fridays” take place on every Knight game day. The unique program gives football players a chance to interact with some of their biggest fans – young elementary school students.
Last week saw the Knights arrive at College Park Elementary School bright and early on Friday morning.
Players greeted CPE students coming off the buses, and the kids were all smiles at their chance to high-five the players.
Those students arriving by car were also met by players, who opened car doors to greet the youngsters with a surprise welcome.
After the first bell sounded, players headed to different classrooms to speak to the kids.
The High Five program began after Stratford coaches saw how much the players enjoyed interacting with kids at the school’s summer youth camps. This is the second season of the program and offensive coordinator Dennie McDaniel said he is happy with the results.
“Our kids really enjoy the opportunity to come here and help out,” said McDaniel. “It shows the community that our team supports the kids.”
In addition to the Friday morning greetings, the team has started an after-school mentoring program with the elementary students.
The players and students are teamed up based on several factors.
“We looked into the children’s needs and made the pairs based on that,” said College Park Elementary School Principal Amanda Prince. “It really helps the kids’ self-esteem and it is a great program.”
McDaniel said that the programs do not just help the young students, but the players as well.
“I think it has a really good impact on these (players). It shows them how to do the right thing and they have,” he said.