CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This past Wednesday, Harvard Athletics worked with the Harvard Public Affairs and Communications' Public School Partnerships team to bring almost 1,300 children, ranging from junior kindergarten through eighth grade, from 11 local public schools in the Cambridge and Boston school systems, to Harvard's campus for Education Day.
Roughly 600 students from junior kindergarten through fifth grade arrived early in the morning for informational sessions with Harvard student-athletes. The students were split between 14 stations in five of Harvard's athletic facilities. The student-athletes represented 12 different sports, including baseball, football, men's tennis, softball, women's hockey, women's lightweight crew, women's rugby, women's soccer, women's swimming and diving, women's track and field, women's volleyball and women's water polo.
The student-athletes talked to the students about life as a student-athlete, what it takes to succeed in their sport, their favorite subjects in school, led some movement activities and even gave some demonstrations of their sports. They also brought equipment related to their sport to show the children.
"I personally had kindergartners and first graders, and I think the most important part of today was being able to explain to them how important school is and how you can't succeed in sports without school," commented Harvard softball player Mackenzie Tyler. "Spencer Rowland, from the football team, was also in my group and we fed off of each other and talked about how you can't get to this point without hard work, putting in the effort and being present in the classroom."
The remaining 700 students joined the other 600 students in attending the Harvard women's basketball game against Northeastern Wednesday morning.
"We're out here at the beautiful athletic campus, kids had the opportunity to see all types of venues, meet athletes, talk to athletes about why they like going to school," added Robin Harris, Principal of Fletcher Maynard Academy. "It's just been really impressive overall, so organized, so accommodating. We are also a school with children on the autism spectrum and you've given us quiet and alternative spaces for them, so accommodating. It's been just a lot of fun. Our kids are screaming and yelling "Go Harvard!" and it's been an overall great trip."